Frugal ways to Lose Weight—Part II*
This is part II of a two part series on frugal ways to lose weight. To pick up where we left off last week:
6) Fasting has health benefits besides just cutting weight. I think this is why so many religions in the world incorporate it into their religious practices—look at the month of Ramadan going on right now all over the world.
Ideally you should be doing a twelve-hour fast every night but that’s a whole other topic (about offloading the glycogen stores from your liver).
I often use intermittent fasting to cut—or even maintain—weight. When I do, it’s only one or two days a week. I would recommend reading a few articles about intermittent fasting before you try it though. If you do it incorrectly, you’ll end up feeling awful not only the day you fast, but the day after (ask me how I know). This will be especially true if you exercise a lot.
Intermittent fasting is only eating during an eight-hour window. So, for example, you stop eating at six p.m. the night before. You don’t start to eat again until ten the next morning. And you end eating eight hours later—by six that night.
Do not eat only two meals during this eight-hour window. This will cause you to feel terrible that day and the next. I usually eat a large salad at ten a.m., followed by a smaller lunch about one p.m. Then an average size dinner at five p.m.
I also make sure to drink a lot of water during an intermittent fast. Otherwise, I feel weird, so drinking water helps flush that ketogenic feeling out of my body.
For the exercisers out there: I don’t do aerobic exercise on the days I intermittent fast. You should only do non-interval type training on your fasting days. I also make sure to do this exercise during my eight-hour eating window.
7) The other week, I was surprised to learn that in Mexico you can buy weight loss pills, like Orlistat and Phentermine, over the counter! As a physician though, I would NOT recommend taking these drugs without a physician’s supervision.
But maybe consider trying a weight loss clinic? The physicians there often have certifications in obesity medicine and know way more about weight loss (and maintenance) than the regular primary care physician.
I often wonder what these clinics cost. In the long run—total-cost-analysis—having diabetes and hypertension is more expensive than paying for services at a weight loss clinic—both in terms of overall health care costs and years of life lost.
8) If you’re serious about losing weight, look deep inside yourself and ask if perhaps there might be an eating disorder going on, or a difficult childhood from which you haven’t recovered. In which case, best to start at the mental health clinic first.
There’s no shame in getting mental health help. I say this because I had a friend who was raped. She told me that afterwards, she ate her way into morbid obesity because she wanted to make herself unattractive to ensure she’d never be raped again. This made me want to cry—except I couldn’t, because I was a grown-up Physician who had to go see my next patient (she—a nurse—had quietly confided in me at her station).
9) If you’re stress eating because of your job, maybe take a long hard look at your life and your finances. Can you change jobs or cut back? A good place to start is taking a mindfullness class.
10) Consider investing in a smart watch. Mine is a visual reminder to myself to *try* to choose a healthy lifestyle (it doesn’t always work when there’s brownies in front of me). Having something monitoring my activities helps me see where I need to improve and it doesn’t lie: I “only” burned 359 calories on my run this morning, so eating an extra croissant would put me in the red for net caloric intake for the day.
I researched smart bands recently and this was the best bang for your buck I could find.
So there you have it. We covered some tough subjects in today’s blog, but I hope it helps people out there take back control of their long-term health—mentally and physically. There are ways to get healthier without spending a ton of money. If you have suggestions for low-cost ways to lose weight, I’d be interested in hearing about them in the comments below.
(*Please see a physician and talk about your weight loss plan before attempting it—especially if you have pre-existing health conditions. And above all, love yourself in whatever state your body is in—I’m just publishing this stuff to try to help people be healthier.)