The diet industry is a perennial money-maker, from exercise programs to magic potions and from diet books to calorie counting counselors. In the end, though, pretty much all of it centres on food.
Here’s a different approach. Lose weight by focusing on money. A recent fascinating article on ethicurian.com by Marc R., aka Mental Masala (forgive him, he’s a food writer), points out that according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, per capita spending on food rose by 16 per cent between 1982 and 2007. Canadian data is less revealing, but we tend to mirror Americans in our food spending.
Most of the increase noted comes from food consumed away from home. We all sense that every bite of takeout and restaurant food delivers a much higher caloric wallop than what you prepare yourself. Add to that the huge escalation in the frequency of eating out and the problem for dieters is clear.
Back in the 1970s, when disco was still cool, Americans consumed 18 per cent of total calories away from home.
Mental, who probably calls himself that after spending too much with government reports, estimates the percentage had risen to nearly 50 per cent by the end of the ’90s. I’m willing to bet the figure is even higher today.
Obviously, eating out takes a bigger chunk out of your wallet than food consumed at home, though you do get a lot more caloric bang for your buck. If the aim was to get more (calories) for your money this would be fine. But if you are trying to lose weight, well, you get the picture.
So here’s the money-focused weight loss solution. Restrict the amount of money you spend eating out, especially on calorie-laden takeout, and you’ll be lean and mean in no time. Set aside an amount in cash every week or every paycheque and once it’s gone, your dining out is done.
You’ll save money and cut calories at the same time — now that’s a diet!