Lose weight without breaking the bank

There is an interesting story about weight loss in the latest edition of USA Today. The article profiles people who have lost a significant amount of weight without spending a lot of money on fancy gyms or elaborate diet plans. They simply made small changes in their routines that made a difference.

All of the weight losers cut out junk food and frequent restaurant dinners. By shopping and cooking at home, many also saved money as they shed the unwanted weight. One weight loser used the free website Sparkpeople, which offers diet plans, calorie counters, and all sorts of tools to help you get to your goal weight.

Exercise was a major component of weight loss for all the participants. Some simply walked but others joined gyms and participated in classes. Many of the "big losers" found it helpful to measure their progress by using a pedometer, treadmill, or bicycle to track how they were doing.

I found these stories interesting and they certainly mirror my own experience. About four years ago, I joined a weight lifting class at the "Y" called Body Pump. A comprehensive, hour long program, we work every muscle group for approximately 5 minutes. In the beginning, I could barely lift the weights. In fact, I quickly discovered that there muscles, like in my shoulders, that I never used in my whole life. I started with really low weights and gradually increased as the lifting became easier.

Now I can out-lift most of the guys in the class and am in better shape than I was 40 years ago. I'm down to a size 6 and feel great. I asked someone at the "Y" what the secret to weight loss is. His answer, "Just keep coming back."

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For a FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro

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