Your New Year's Resolution

Another year gone, another year beginning. And for some reason, people seem to pick this as the time in their life when they're allowed to make lifestyle changes. Why they don't just make the changes whenever they notice something that needs fixing, I don't know, but for our purposes today we'll just accept that it somehow makes sense, because it's what people do anyway. So since you're making your resolutions anyway, I'm going to give you one to add to your list. Not only that, I'm going to tell you how to keep to it. Are you ready?

Eat healthier for less money.

2008 USA Obesity Statistics

  • 34% of adults over 20 are obese
  • Another 34% are overweight but not obese
  • 18% of 12-19 year olds are obese
  • 20% of 6-11 year olds are obese
  • 10% of 2-5 year olds are obese

If you're reading this, and you're American, odds are you're a fat fucker. That's not to say I think my readership are a bunch of lazy assholes, but it's hard to argue with facts. If you're American, there's better than a 2 in 3 chance that you seriously need to lose weight. And I'm sure I don't need to pull out any poverty or unemployment graphs to prove that you're strapped for cash too. So this is a resolution that will serve you well.

So, how to keep it... well, for starters, stop buying fucking junk food. Your average fast food combo with fries has enough salt to poison a fishbowl, enough sugar to give an entire country diabetes, and enough fat that you could make soap. Not only that, it's significantly more expensive than making food yourself. I'll get to that later.

Step 2: Start making your own food at home. You control the ingredients, and you control the portion sizes. Further, odds are anything you make at home will have significantly fewer calories than whatever you were planning to get from a fast food place.

Here are some facts:

  • Most loafs of bread cost less than $2, and can be used to make at least 8 sandwiches
  • A large jar of peanut butter costs less than $5, and can be used to make at least 20 sandwiches
  • A package of pasta costs less than $2, and will probably give you 10-15 meals
  • A dozen eggs costs less than $2, and you can easily get 4-6 half-meals out of them
  • A package of processed meat (the most unhealthy thing on this list) costs less than $2.50 and can be used to make 8-12 sandwiches
  • A bag of salad costs less than $1.50, and you can easily get 4 salads out of each bag
  • A tin of tuna costs less than $1.50, and is 100% protein
  • Vegetables are fairly inexpensive, as are fruits (your mileage will vary based on time of year)
  • A bag of 3 chicken legs is generally under $7

So if we buy 2 weeks of groceries, consisting of 4 loaves of bread, 2 packages of meat, a jar of peanut butter, 2 dozen eggs, a package of pasta, 2 bags of salad, 5 tins of tuna, 2 bags of chicken legs, and let's be generous and say $20 in fruits and veggies, that's a total expenditure of less than $70, and even if we're gluttonous we're getting 40 sandwiches (or pairs of toast for breakfast), 3 chicken dinners, 10 bowls of pasta, and 6 salads out of that, plus breakfasts, plus we're going to have leftovers. So you're eating two weeks of healthy food for under $70. Just for argument's sake let's assume you've also bought a couple bricks of cheese, some milk, a box of cereal, and various odds and ends to make your food more tasty, and jack that up to an even $100. That comes down to $50 a week, and we're pushing it.

Fast Food Calories

  • Big Mac + medium fries: 1020
  • Whopper + medium fries: 1060
  • 2 slices Pizza Hut beef pizza + ranch sauce: 1140
  • 2 grilled chicken burritos: 780
  • Baconator + medium fries: 1030
  • Arby's chicken bacon & swiss with baked potato: 1110
  • Denny's Delidinger and onion rings: 1676
  • In'n'Out Double Double + fries: 1070

Source

Now, let's look at fast food. At an average of $5/meal, you're getting 10 meals for your week on the same money that you spent on groceries. So for the same $50 you can either eat fast food 1 or 2 times a day, or you can feed yourself healthy food for an entire week. No-brainer, right?

Here's the real kicker: if you do this, you will lose weight. I guarantee it. Even if you eat the same amount of food each day, and change nothing else about your lifestyle, you will lose weight by doing this. You want to know how, right? Well, here's the thing: all those food items up there are low in calories if you don't go overboard eating them, while fast food tends to be rather high. It's fair to estimate 800-1000 calories per meal with a combo, but if you make food yourself you're likely to clock in closer to 600-800 calories with the same amount of food. Of course, if you eat constantly, like an asshole, you're going to gain weight no matter what you eat; it's all about the calories.

And even if the calories are exactly the same, you'll be taking in less fat, which is a good thing, and significantly less salt. Less salt means your body doesn't have to deal with it, which means it can make better use of water, which means you're less dehydrated, which means your metabolism works better, which means you'll burn off more calories each day just from doing what you do.

Speaking of water, you should drink more of it. Odds are you've been walking around dehydrated for your entire adult life. A healthy body needs about 4L of water a day. You lose about half that much just sweating, plus your organs need to function. Yes you will pee more, but you'll have significantly more energy and you'll feel much better about yourself. Drinking more water also means drinking less sugary fruit juice and pop, which again means fewer calories and less sugar. While a sugar hit is sometimes useful, drinking it all day every day is seriously unhealthy.

So there you have it, your new year's resolution for 2011. It's easy, simple, will save you money, will lose you weight, and will get you feeling better about yourself. Or you can keep being the fat asshole with no energy that you are. The choice is yours.

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