If November is the month of the mustache, and December is the month of goodwill to all mankind, then January is the month of the diet. You may find yourself depressingly behind a desk, eating a salad and wearing your roomiest pair of pants to accommodate for holiday gluttony, when the office twig flounces in to announce that she ate almost half a turkey over the holidays and needs to go on a diet. Having eaten an entire turkey yourself, you feel sufficiently overcome with Christmas-pigout-guilt (the scientific name) and decide to join her on the calorie-cutting quest. After all, tis the season for self-improvement... but where to begin?
Although you'd never know it from the way that people rant about diets, not everyone needs to lose weight. To find out whether you should slim down for your health, measure your body mass index, or BMI; if it's greater than 25, you probably could do with dropping a few. In which case, take a look at this list of deals for basic fitness equipment and supplies that we've assembled to get you through this trying time.
The Weight of it All
The first thing you'll need is a body scale to determine what your exact starting point is. Even if the thought of coming face-to-face with your real weight (not the one you've been holding on to since high school) makes your skin crawl, it is of the utmost importance to be honest with yourself. If you're looking for a basic scale, pick up the Health o Meter Dial Scale ($9 with free shipping via Prime, a low by a $1), which features something called a "Speedo Dial".
For those who are eager to move away from the primitive notion of standing on a scale and registering a simple number, the pictured Omron HBF-306C Fat Loss Monitor ($29.99 with free shipping, a low by $7) works as a "fat analyzer" (yeah, we don't love that term either, but the truth hurts!) that measures your body fat percentage and body mass to give you a more accurate idea of how much excess weight you have.
Get Real with Your Goals
Once you've taken the plunge and purchased a scale, the next step is to step on, look down, and set a target goal weight. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends aiming to lose just 5% to 10% of your current body weight, or about 1 to 2 pounds a week, and if you have a more drastic plan in mind, we'd recommend consulting your doctor first. While trying to fit back into a pair of skinny jeans from 2004 is not the most realistic way to set your weight loss goal, having a "dream size" to be able to fit into can be a tangible target. Most women aim to drop a dress size or two.
Food, Glorious Food
Congrats so far: you've stepped on the scales and you have a goal weight in mind. But how do you actually go about the business of shedding the pounds? Well, the simple answer is to cut out the junk food and binge eating that had been prevalent over the holiday season. We've all seen enough Oprah to know that the most successful way to achieve a healthy body weight is by healthy food and adhering to portion control.
But healthy doesn't need to mean boring, bland food, as demonstrated by the The 1200-Calorie-a-Day Menu Cookbook ($8.90 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $1; Walmart offers it for $8 with free Site-to-Store). With more than 500 recipes to choose from, you might be surprised by breakfast options such as french toast with maple syrup and sausage links. It's getting easier and easier to keep track of your calories, especially if you received a Kindle ebook reader for Christmas: downloads of Food, Glorious Food: The Kindle Carb & Calorie Counter (pictured) is just $4.89 and provides a comprehensive guide to the calorie content of over 12,000 foods. Just take care not to get low-fat butter on your Kindle whilst you're being a domestic dietary diva.
By maintaining a healthy eating regiment for the entire year and thereby changing your lifestyle, you may run into some tough spots on your weight-loss plan. A 1-Year Subscription to Weight Watchers Magazine ($5.95 via coupon code "MPSBIG", a low by $2) can help by offering new and fun recipes, and useful tips, trends, and up-to-date research. At the very least the happy, skinny girl on the cover should give you some motivation!
Gear Up to Sweat it Off
We'd love to be able to tell you we've found a miracle solution to weight loss that doesn't involve exercise, but alas (as far as we can tell) there's still no way around it. But you can at least look fabulous while breaking a sweat. Check out Finish Line's End of Season Sale for discounts of up to 70% off training sneakers and attire. You can even apply various coupon codes to get additional discounts. Alternatively, pick up some exercise accessories (footwear, apparel, exercise equipment, and more) at Dick's Sporting Goods, where clearance items are discounted an extra 25% off. There's also always the daily athletic apparel deals we update regularly, too.
Once you've equipped your weight loss arsenal with a scale, new recipes, a set of motivational reads, and your comfortable and bright workout clothes, you're on your way to becoming a happier, healthier, and hotter you. Just remember that each day is a new day and a positive attitude towards becoming healthier is more than half of the motivation you'll need to reach your weight loss goals.