Losing weight can save you money!

Every time I start a diet, as I did yesterday, it seems to cost me money, which doesn't really make sense. After all, if I'm reducing the amount of food I eat, I should be spending less too, right? But I end up buying lots of fresh fruit and some out of season produce like berries, a luxury during the winter months in the Northeast. I also buy meals I don't know how to make like lowfat triple squash soup at Whole Foods - delicious, but expensive.

This time, I'm determined to lose weight without spending a fortune, mostly by making food rather than relying on prepared foods. Yesterday, as I was eating a bowl of Special K with bananas and 1% milk, I saw a segment on the Today Show called Losing Weight Doesn't Have to Cost You.

Not only did I tune it, I took notes. The long-term savings of maintaining a healthy weight include lower life insurance premiums and health care costs, according to contributor Joy Bauer. She displayed several food items and alternatives that would save both calories and money if you substituted them five days a week for a year.

We all know that syrupy sweet lattes are expensive and fattening, but here are a few more tips: skipping a 20-ounce soda and drinking tap water could save 65,000 calories and $390 a year, forgoing a 500-calorie store bought muffin for a bowl of cereal at home could save 91,000 calories and $338 and trading vending machine snacks like Sun Chips for an apple adds up to a savings of 31,000 calories and $260.

As for the two $10 frozen margaritas at happy hour? Ask for the house wine instead at $7 a glass every Friday all year long and it will save you 64,000 calories and $312. This is the only advice I dispute – I always order a full bottle of wine rather than by the glass because you get better wine and you save money. I guess I can't justify that one while dieting though.
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