The money diet, week 5: These public weigh-ins helping weight loss

pennyI'm in week five of the Money Diet, where I try to lose weight by counting how much I'm saving every week by not eating junk food. And it's still working. I'm really pretty shocked by my weight loss. When I started this, if anyone had asked me to be truthful, I would have admitted that I was full of bravado and would have predicted that, by now, I'd have stormed a White Castle, scarfed down 132 of their little burgers and would have been waving the white flag.

But I've managed to resist the temptation, and I've lost weight again this week. I'm losing it slowly, which is frustrating, but I know that's what you're supposed to do.

Anyway, here's how I'm doing:

My weight when I began: 264
My weight last week: 250.5
My weight this week: 248

I still have a long way to go before I'm dancing a jig -- without running out of breath, anyway -- but I'm definitely encouraged. And I'm sure that posting my weight on WalletPop isn't hurting. It certainly helps keep me accountable.

Dieting for all the online world to see has been a trend for awhile now, from what I can tell -- people are blogging and Tweeting about their weight loss. For fun, I just typed in the word "diet" in Twitter's search engine, and then "lost" and "pounds." Here are a few of the posts (for better or worse, mostly unedited) that popped up:

"I'm on that special K diet. And there is nothing special about it!! I need some bacon!!!!!"

"I think diet soda tricks your body and makes it think it's sugary anyway and still makes you fat. Might as well drink regular."

"Have been on the weight watchers diet for 2 weeks and have lost 4 pounds so far, why is it so easy to put on but bloody hard to lose."

"Guys I lost 4 pounds in 2 days!! Ow watch out."

"Just weighed in at WW, lost another 2."

A lot of people are posting their progress on the web in hopes of getting encouragement from the blogosphere. There's even a scale that debuted last year that, when you weigh yourself, will automatically post your weight to all your followers on Twitter. Good grief.

Anyway, here's my "saving money, losing weight" journal for the week:
  • Bag of my favorite pretzels that I used to buy weekly (and sometimes twice a week) but still haven't. Actual savings: $3.29. On pretzels alone, I've saved over $15 in 2010.
  • I didn't raid any of my wife's stash of Coca-Cola. In the old days, when I ran out of diet soda, I'd swipe a few cans of her regular soda. I haven't yet, so I'm sure I've saved spending money on at least one case of pop this week. Estimated savings: $8.
  • I've been eating a lot of grown-up, healthy cereal like, well, Special K (unlike that Twitter user, I like it pretty well), and I haven't added any sugar to my cereal. Let's say that I had six bowls of cereal this week. My old self would have put maybe two (okay, three) teaspoons of sugar into the cereal, so let's assume each teaspoon of sugar costs 3 cents, so that's 9 cents per bowl multiplied by six bowls. So right there, I saved...54 cents.
  • I skipped the fast food outlets, although I did go to a Subway, if that counts. Still, I probably saved at least $5.
  • I saw a few candy bars at various convenience stores during the week but didn't buy them. Estimated savings: $3.
  • I've been skipping late night snacks (mostly) and second helpings and, um, thirds at dinner. That has to count for something, so let's say, I've racked up an estimated savings of $6.
And that's the gist of how this week went. Not to say I've been ideal at weight loss. For my daughter's sixth birthday, for instance, we took her and some of her friends to Dairy Queen, where I weakened and blew $3 on a small Blizzard. Since I still managed to lose some weight this week, though, I look at that as money well spent. Or at least not wasted.

My total saved this week so far:
Total saved this year so far: $122.38

The slightly less rotund and slightly wealthier Geoff Williams is a regular contributor to WalletPop as well as co-author of the new book Living Well with Bad Credit.
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