Don’t want to fork out for a slimming club? Check out my favourite tools that help shed pounds without spending them.
Every January I resolve to lose weight, and I’ve rejoined slimming clubs on tempting New Years offers more times than I care to remember.
This year, I decided to keep my cash, go it alone during January, and make the most of cheap and free tools for slimming without a slimming club.
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Here’s what I found helpful:
Weighing in once a week
The weekly weigh in at a slimming club is a big motivator. Trouble is, my bathroom scales are erratic at the best of times. So when going it alone, I was keen to find a reliable alternative.
Luckily our local leisure centre has a fancy pants set of scales in the corner of reception, and anyone can use them for free. I plucked up the courage to ignore the nearby coffee drinkers, and have been sidling in once a week to weigh myself.
The Boditrax doesn’t just check weight, it checks all kinds of things I’d rather not know including fat and muscle percentages and my worryingly ancient metabolic age. Fair to say the picture is not pretty, but at least after four weeks it is improving. I can also log in online from elsewhere to stare at the stats, and remind myself that I have actually managed to shift some weight.
If your local gym or leisure centre isn’t quite so accommodating, worth checking if a nearby chemist has reliable scales instead.
Tracking on an app
Think you need a slimming club to find a food tracking app? Try the freebie version of My Fitness Pal instead.
You enter some basic info about yourself and your activity levels, and it crunches the numbers to suggest how many calories you should eat each day.
You can then keep a food diary by searching for the stuff you’ve eaten, tweaking the quantities, and adding them to the relevant meals and snacks. As you can see from the screen grab above, the database includes loads of different branded foods as well as raw ingredients. My Fitness Pal does the hard part working out how many calories you’ve consumed and how many you have left that day. You can also log any exercise and your weekly weigh in too.
Does it take time to fill in? Yes. Have I done it religiously every day? No. But I’m aware that when I do, it definitely helps me stay on track.
Following a meal plan
You don’t have to join a slimming club to get a diet plan. In fact it can be hard to avoid slimming recipes every New Year, when they often feature in the national press.
I was interested in the latest iteration of WeightWatchers (or ‘WW’ as it now calls itself), so I spent a couple of quid on the latest WW magazine, and also checked out the info available for free online.
WW ran a series of pull outs for a week in the Daily Mail. I don’t normally buy the Mail, but needs must, so I duly nipped out for a copy each day or enlisted my reluctant husband to buy one on his way home.
Tried to show my husband it was worth it, by pointing out the evening meal he was enjoying came from a recipe in the Mail (sticky pork fillets with noodles, if you’re interested). He just said ‘Aha. So it’s deeply imbued with right wing intolerance’. Sigh.
Still ate it though.
Half the time, the food I eat is perfectly healthy, I just eat too much of it.
So whether I’m going to a slimming club or not, I find my digital scales (affiliate link) a huge help in cutting mountains of pasta/rice/potatoes down to size. Otherwise it’s all too easy to pile extra onto my plate, when catering for a family of four. Ditto measuring spoons when cooking.
(Plus let’s face it, if you ditch the diet, the spoons and scales are still useful for baking)
Even better, I already had scales and measuring spoons, so didn’t need to spend anything extra.
So a month after gritting my teeth and getting on with it, the Boditrax machine swears I’ve lost 7lbs.
I’m writing that down quickly as my weight goes up and down more often than a stockmarket graph. I need to celebrate shedding half a stone while I can! As you can see from the graph above, there have been bumps along the way.
Totting up what I’ve spent apart from food, it comes to £9.39 for the newspapers and a magazine. The new recipes helped renew my enthusiasm for healthier eating, so I reckon it was worth the money.
I still have a shedload left to lose, and do miss the company at weekly slimming club sessions, so will report back after taking a different tack during February.
Now – over to you. What tools have you found helpful when slimming on a budget? Do share in the comments – I could do with all the help I can get, and hopefully your tips will help others too!