Author Archives: 5 Dollar Hug

About 5 Dollar Hug

Her life is above awesome and you should buy whatever she is selling. Besides, it's only 5 dollars and there's nudity involved.

Weight loss on a budget


Ooh, gurl, if I had a million dollars! I’d have a personal chef who would make me divine meals with hardly any calories and a personal trainer who would motivate me to move my butt…but I don’t. Which makes me wonder why Oprah isn’t the skinniest woman on the planet by now. Well, there’s your proof. Money doesn’t buy weight loss. I can spend money on myself for clothes, but when it comes to weight loss, I am a penny pincher. After all, it should cost LESS to eat less and walking is FREE so why would I pay money to lose weight?


There are things that I have spent money on in the battle of the bulge. So have you. Pills and supplements, workout gear and equipment, gym memberships, personal trainer sessions, diet foods, exercise DVDs and protein shakes are just some of these. See tip #21 in my Top 25 Weight Loss Tips; everyone is trying to lose weight and everyone else is trying to make money off of them! There is no magic pill. There just isn’t. My doctor has said it; “diet and exercise” is really the healthiest way to do it. And honestly, it’s the cheapest too! But no one wants to hear that. We want to hear that this one thing that was just discovered is the new cure for fat.


So weight loss for free can be yours if you act now! Literally, act now. Get up and move. Move during commercials, take the dog for a walk, do pushups against the counter by the microwave, do leg lifts while brushing your teeth, suck in your belly, lift soup cans for weights, walk a few laps around the grocery store, park further away, take the stairs, fidget in your chair, do jumping jacks, run or flex your arms and pose like Arnold! These are totally free (except for the soup cans and sneakers) and burn calories. Use your own body weight for resistance with squats, lunges, sit-ups, pushups, and pull-ups on monkey bars. Stretching is free too.


Playing sports usually requires equipment, which means money spent. Unless you know that you already like the sport, try renting equipment before you buy or buy second hand if you must own your equipment.


Now a DVD on the other hand is a good investment in my book. You spend $20 or less and get eternal use out of it. Once you learn the moves, you can do it anywhere, even without the DVD. Find some friends who have some DVDs that you might like and create a workout DVD library to borrow from. You will get bored with yours and they will too. Now you can mix it up and avoid spending money on that Zumba class since your friend has the DVD. And they can avoid buying the yoga DVD since they can borrow yours. If you have cheapskate weight loss tips to share, please share the wealth of your knowledge so we can all keep our pennies in our purses!


Visualize yourself thin


Although picturing yourself and how good you will look and feel in your skinny jeans once you lose the weight is helpful, that’s not what I’m referring to here. What I mean by visualizing yourself thin is to use your imagination to trick yourself out of those cravings for foods that will sabotage your weight loss.

A warning to the faint of stomach here. You may think that what I am about to describe is horrifyingly disgusting, so please skip this article if you are squeamish. I’ll have other tips for you later on.

I have a few foods that are my weaknesses. Ice cream movie popcorn, soda, and cookies are all pitfalls for me. They are comforting, desirable, and almost impossible to resist, especially if they present themselves to me. You can probably easily think of your own downfall foods. Maybe your list is huge, maybe it’s small. That’s not important. The important thing here is to be able to identify your own favorite high-calorie foods. These are the ones that if someone walked up to you with a plate of, you would inhale them without even a second thought. Give it a little thought and picture them now. Mmm, yummy, right?

Now that you know what those foods are, the second step in this technique requires some imagination. If you are a person who cringes and says “Eww!” when you hear someone talk about something gross, you are already there. No further work is needed. If that is you, skip ahead to the next paragraph. If you’re still reading, you need to work on your visualization techniques. Let’s try a sample visualization. Picture a cockroach crawling across the counter in the kitchen. Now picture it stopping and let’s look in detail at it. Zoom in. Can you see it’s feelers twitching? The little hairs on it’s legs? The darker shell and teeny little black eyes? Maybe there’s some crumbs or sticky substance on its’ legs. Is it making some little noises as its’ legs touch the surface of the counter? Does it smell like garbage? OK I think you get it so let’s move on.

We are going to use a technique that is similar to aversion therapy. You are going to learn to associate something gross with your favorite food. This will help you to learn to have control over the downfall foods. This works very well for me so I hope it’s a technique that you could use as well. Let’s say that you are on track with your weight loss and someone invites you out to a movie where you know that you will popcorn! You have great memories of movie popcorn and it is associated with fun and laughter as well as some delicious warm buttery calories. You would like to resist the popcorn in order to stay on track with your weight loss. Here comes the visualization.

Picture that a cockroach got into the movie popcorn overnight. It crawled all over the popcorn and feasted on it, even laid eggs somewhere in that movie popcorn trolley. I bet you don’t want any now, do you? You’re probably sick to your stomach and about to vomit at the though of eating that. Well, it worked!

Now, you have to learn to control this or you’ll never eat again so remember, before you thought of that cockroach, you would have eaten that popcorn and really, you made up the cockroach. It was never there at all. Movie theaters have measures to protect food and make sure that this isn’t likely. However, that cockroach can come back any time you need help avoiding your downfall foods so use him, with a little caution. Whatever works for you. Someone who made the food and didn’t wash their hands after picking their nose, vomit, etc. Whatever works to make you feel a need to avoid the food. We will need to learn moderation so that we can have small amounts of the foods we love in the future. But we aren’t ready for that yet.

My top 25 tips for weight loss


1)    Find a partner to challenge you, talk you down when you might overindulge or remind you of how good you’ll feel when you lose the weight

2)    When you have a craving or rush for the vending machine, try to think of something gross to prevent you from eating it (like cockroaches crawling over the food)

3)    Don’t carry any spare change or small bills in your wallet so you can’t get something from the vending machine

4)    Find a substitute that is almost as good as the real thing. Like frozen yogurt for ice cream

5)    Don’t check the scale daily. Your weight can change a lot from day to day. Try once a week or every few days.

6)    Exercise: find it where you can! Do glute squeezes at your desk or in the car, leg lifts while brushing your teeth and squats while waiting for the microwave

7)    Keep a food journal so you can see how much you truly eat daily. Use a calorie count guide to see what your daily average is. Then try to reduce it by 200 cal or more per day

8)    Don’t be afraid to ask other people who you admire how they stay fit or how they’ve lost weight. You might get some good tips.

9)    Read or listen to “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” by Brian Wansink, PhD

10)  Get your family/roommates to stop sabotaging you by bringing temptation into the house. Tell them that you’re trying to lose weight and ask them top stop bringing home potato chips or other unhealthy snacks

11)  Find your motivator. Does fast music get you moving? Crank up the tunes! Does money motivate you? Place a bet with a friend.

12)  There’s no magic wand. Weight loss is hard work. Commit to it every day. It might be the hardest thing you’ve ever done but it will be worth it.

13)  Make rules and follow them. For example, I can eat one piece of chocolate when I get home from work today if I eat a healthy lunch

14)  If you can’t eliminate unhealthy food from the house, make it hard to get to. Put it in a sealed container in the back of the freezer under everything else and wrap it in aluminum foil so it is not visible

15)  Make healthy snacks plentiful and have a big variety of them around.

16)  Find a free online helper like

17)  Get in a swimsuit and take your own “before” photo or have someone do it for you. Post it somewhere you’ll see it and be inspired to take action to be an “after”

18)  Watch inspiring TV like The Biggest Loser and do some exercises while you watch

19)  Trade/share workout DVDs with friends. You get tired of your routine after a while so try something different to keep it fresh

20)  If you hate exercise, find something you do like to do that gets you moving. If jogging isn’t your thing, try cycling, swimming, jazzercise or dancing.

21)  So many people want to lose weight and so many other people want to make money off of them. Don’t fall for product pitches for fast weight loss. There is no magic pill.

22)  Get educated. Read magazines or books on weight lifting, fitness, healthy living, nutrition, yoga, body building, etc.

23)  Don’t deny yourself anything. As soon as you tell yourself that you can’t have a food, you become obsessed with it. Instead, try to limit your intake of it to once every 2 weeks or only 3 bites of it.

24)  When you go to a restaurant, ask for a to-go box as soon as your food comes. Put half of your meal in the box before you even start eating.

25)   Try “Put a contract out on yourself” Set a goal and set a $ amount that you have to pay if you don’t reach your goal.

Work fewer muscles for bigger weight loss results


If you’re like most women, we don’t want to “bulk up” so we avoid a lot of strength training, although we all want to be toned and lean. We have all heard that muscle burns calories faster and burning calories will help us lose weight. So it makes sense that we need to do some muscle work to get the lean figure that we want and to drop the weight.

I decided that if I focused on the biggest muscles in my body that I would get bigger results with my weight loss. Plus, these muscles tended to be the areas that I needed work with most: my butt, belly, and thighs.


Move your butt

Buttocks, gluteus maximus, tush, rear end, behind, bum, etc. These are two of the largest muscles in the body so strengthening them yields bigger calorie burn and bigger results with less effort. Try it now, squeeze your buttocks together while you sit and read this. Easy, right? You can do this all day long if you want to. I’ve had a very sedentary job most of my life and I love to eat. These tow things led to a lot of my weight gain. So burning calories while sitting made sense for me to be able to add activity into my day to help lose the weight.


Flat tummy

Abdominals, tummy, belly, stomach, abs, etc. The same thing goes for your abs. This is a large muscle group that you can work while sitting still and burn calories. Go ahead and suck in your stomach now. Now do it even deeper. You need to be able to breathe while doing this, don’t hold your breath. Now squeeze them until your stomach is being held in so tightly that you think you can touch your spine with your stomach. Can you feel the burn?

I would do this throughout the day and challenge myself to little contests. “Let’s see if I can hold in my stomach until the end of this song on the radio.” Then I discovered that I felt better results or a deeper “burn” when I held in my abs but released them in little pulses, pulling them in tighter after the release. So the 4 count of a song was “1, 2, 3, 4, release & tighten (in one beat) 2, 3, 4, release & tighten 2, 3, 4.” I could work out while I commuted or at my desk. It was a great way to add physical activity to an otherwise sedentary activity without needing any additional time to workout.

Eventually I bought an inflatable exercise or balance ball and started doing crunches at home in the living room. I loved the way it made my stomach hurt a little. The soreness was a reminder of my goal and losing the fat around my belly which always bothered me. Again, try it now, suck in your tummy. You can do it no matter where you are of what you’re doing. Bravo! You’re working out!

Once I had established this as a habit, it was easy to incorporate it into my daily life and I was adding exercise even without needing to get dressed and go to the gym, without needing time to shower and do my hair, and without sweating. Anyone can do this! I hope you have the results that you are looking for by adding this tip into your daily activity.

How do I find a weight loss plan that will work for me?


Some psychology basics

OK I’m no therapist so get off of my couch! But I do almost have a master’s degree in psychology so here are some basics of human behavior. In psychology, punishment and reward are key for your behavior change. If you are doing something that you hate, it feels like a punishment to you. Continuing to do it will be something you dread and eventually stop doing because you dislike it so much. In order to make a change, you need to reinforce your behavior by either rewarding yourself or making the behavior a pleasant experience so that you will want to keep doing it.


Find your bliss! Learning to love exercise

In order for your weight loss plan to work, you need to find what works for you.

“How do I find out what will work for me for weight loss?” you’re asking. Know yourself is the answer! Do you like green beans? If not, then eating them for 3 weeks to lose 10 lbs will never work for you. Do you like running? If not, then strapping on your running shoes is the furthest thing from your mind.


A self-survey for best weight loss practices

Get out some paper and a pen (or your nearest electronic device notepad) and take a moment to answer the following questions.

Of all the exercise activities you have tried in your life, what did you like most?

Which exercise did you like least?

What were your favorite and least favorite PE activities in school?

Do you like any sports?

What music gets you energized?

How long have you stuck with your previous attempts to lose weight?

How much time do you honestly have to commit to exercise in a day?

What type of environment do you most enjoy being in?

Would you like being with a workout partner or do you prefer to be alone?

Do you like sweating?

Do you like consistency or variety?

I could keep going, but you get the point.


Now use that information to build your own reward system for your workout program. Make your exercise regimen a rewarding experience with your favorite music, favorite activities, favorite friend, favorite environment, the appropriate amount of time for you, etc., etc. For me this was listening to Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter,” being alone, doing activity that doesn’t involve a lot of sweating or pounding of my joints, doing it for maybe 30-45 minutes so I don’t lose interest, keeping a variety of activities in my workout routine and working out at home so it’s convenient.


You can apply this technique to your diet too but it is more difficult since food is by nature a reward for us. A better technique for food is to not deny your cravings and give in to them. Just a little. For me, I love bread. If I had to follow a diet that said I could never have bread, I know at the start that I’m going to fail. I’ll crave it and binge on Olive Garden breadsticks one day and hate myself. But if I tell myself that I can have 2 breadsticks as long as I stick to one bowl of soup and endless salad AND workout that day, then I can feel satisfied by having eaten what I crave and not having overdone it.


Making these kinds of “bargains” with yourself with “if then” rules are also helpful. For example, “If I finish this 45 minute workout, I can have 2 Dove dark chocolate squares.” I’ll have more on diet psychological techniques in future posts, including a visualization tip to help prevent setbacks and pitfalls around the holidays and workplace potlucks. Thank you for reading and good luck to you in your quest for a healthier you. Here’s hoping you’ll soon be able to write your own weight loss success story for women just like yourself!


A weight loss success story for women over 30


Over 30 and losing it: How I lost weight


At the time that I lost 60 pounds, I was a 37 year old woman and I had accomplished almost all of that weight loss in a 6 month timeframe. I wanted to write this story to share my weight loss success with you in the hopes that you will be able to write your own success story and share that with other 30-plus women. I promise to be honest with you about my setbacks and challenges, and will share more of my weight loss tips in future posts as well as more details about my exercise habits.


Timeframe for my weight loss

Although several factors helped me to lose the weight, the main one that helped me was a “Biggest Loser” contest that my workplace had created. With a $20 buy in per person and an initial weigh in starting in January and an ending weigh in scheduled for June, enough people had participated that the first place prize would be $750! That was a big motivator for me to lose weight. The winner would be determined based on the percentage of weight lost, not pounds lost. My starting weight was 255 and I was 5’ 6,” grossly obese according to BMI charts.


Setting a weight loss goal 

I had a coworker who was tall (5’ 9”), beautiful and lean 20-something compared to me. She wanted to participate too and we decided to support each other in our efforts to lose weight for the contest. When she weighed in she was over 200 pounds and I hate to say it but that number was just so satisfying for me to see. She looked healthy to me and had a figure that I wished for. Her number seemed attainable to me and so now I had a goal to shoot for. I know that this is not necessarily rational, but it meant something important to me. This mental shift was key for me.   


My diet success story

My diet consisted of the following:

Breakfast: Either Special K and skim milk for breakfast or a light Yoplait yogurt, frozen fruit (blueberry, strawberry or banana) and skim milk smoothie

AM Snack: Yoplait light yogurt

Lunch: Campbell’s soup: Either Italian wedding, tomato or creamy chicken. No crackers. Or tuna: Plain Starkist albacore can tuna, the Starkist tuna salad packs with crackers or the Bumblebee tuna packs in spicy Thai flavor

PM Snack: V8 veggie juice either the small can or the 12 oz one and a light cheese stick

Dinner: Varied but a grilled cheese was a frequent player along with more tomato soup, a McDonald’s Asian chicken salad without dressing, or Wendy’s chili and baked potato without the butter and sour cream.


Exercise plan for my lazy bones

Knowing what would work for me was important. The exercise had to be something that I wouldn’t dislike and could do without feeling self-conscious in workout clothes at the gym. I was almost 40 years old and looked like a whale in Spandex. I started using the recumbent exercise bike that had become a clothing rack in my bedroom. I moved it into the living room where I could sit and watch TV. The best part of this was being able to wear comfortable clothing (even going braless) and not having to worry about going to a gym and being judged by other people (read: skinny women) in the parade of thinner-than-me bodies.


I worked out once a day either in the morning or the evening, setting a goal of burning 500 calories each time. After I had done this for about 2 months, I ramped up my workouts to 1000 calories at a time or 500 calories burned twice a day. I also tried to work exercise into my daily activity by sucking in my stomach as often as I could remember throughout the day, doing leg lifts while brushing my teeth, push ups against the counter in the kitchen, anywhere I could find time to move, I did. I’ll write more on this topic later so you know which muscles I focused on more often than others and how I worked in other exercises like belly dancing.


Pounds lost

My weight loss started slowly but had built to about 10 pounds lost by the second month. This was when I ramped things up with my workouts to compete with my friend. By the end of the 6 month contest, I had lost 22% of my body weight and almost 60 pounds total. And I was thrilled with my new leaner, more healthy body!


I hope that you will find this weight loss success story useful, especially if you are a woman who is over 30 or nearing 40 and has started to notice that your metabolism is slowing down. There’s more to my story and I’ll be posting and blogging more about my journey because I’m still working to lose weight and keep it off.  

Hello losers!


OK that was totally meant as a cheeky comment, not an insult. I hope that you all can achieve your weight loss goals and become very happy losers too.

Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Everyone wants the magic pill for it. They spend thousands looking for it. But ultimately they never find that “one thing” that works.

I think you already know what works. And it’s up to you to make it happen and put it into action.

I’m typing this from my recumbent bike. Move with me! Let’s all become fabulous losers and create a community of women who help each other at!