Calories as Cash

This article I originally wrote for the YMCA newsletter, but it was cut due to size constraints. It looks like our local paper may do a story about Howie’s and my weight loss, so that’s very cool. We love the opportunity to encourage others to make positive changes in their lives.

Dieting as a couple is great, but we can be each other’s greatest encouragers or worst enemies when it comes to eating right. Since April 2004, Howie has shed 140 pounds, while I’ve lost 67 pounds. In fact, Howie has lost a grand total 210 pounds from his highest lifetime weight of 490 pounds. A broken back and subsequent surgery in 1996 was a stumbling block, but he got back on track. We’ve dieted sporadically the duration of our marriage, but always found ourselves going back to old habits. Something clicked for us this time, though, and we know it’s for life

What changed? We realized our obesity was more than just cosmetic. We just plain hurt. We saw our obesity quite possibly would lead to an early death for one or both of us. We want to enjoy a long marriage! Things like heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, diabetes, and another weight-related killers become very personal when it’s someone you love.

Here are some of the things we’ve found most important in our quest for fitness:


Even before you start changing your eating habits, start writing everything down. Pay attention to nutrition labels. You may be shocked to learn just how many calories you eat in a day. Journaling when you are off-plan is very important. It keeps you honest with yourself. What you eat is every bit as important as how much you eat. The American Heart Association great nutrition information and an eating guide.


I’m a bargain shopper and get a kick out of finding a great deals. Somewhere along the way, I figured out that healthy dieting (not fad diets, mind you) is a lot like bargain shopping. Each day, I’m given the equivalent of $1500 in calories to spend in whatever way I want. I can blow the same 600 calories on greasy cheeseburger, or I can spend it on a grilled chicken salad with veggies and cheese. One’s an impulse buy, the other a real bargain.You tell me: Which one is going to pack the most nutritional punch for the calorie dollar?


We have a weekly treat day, allowing ourselves about 600 extra calories. Trigger foods we still avoid, however; cheeseburgers are out, but we’ve found that we really don’t miss them. Change is possible.


It’s deceptively simple, but true. To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. We joined the YMCA in February 2005 and it’s one of the best choices we’ve made. This was the first time exercise has been a regular part of our lifestyle. Howie and I did not exercise until we were down to about 330 pounds and 244 pounds, respectively. Swimming was our first choice since it was kind to our backs and joints. Swimming in the warm pool and doing the water arthritis classes were the catalyst for us. Now we use the treadmill and other cardio-intensive machines, plus do strength training on the resistance machines. I enjoy walking, either outside or at the great indoor mezzanine track at the YMCA.


If your family isn’t on board with your desire for fitness, do it anyway. You’re worth it. Find a support system and become accountable. Visit Howie’s weightloss blog at Shrinking the H-Man and drop us a line. You can do this!

~ ©2005 Kimberley Broyles

6 thoughts on “Calories as Cash

  1. Great article Kimberley! I think comparing calories to cash is a very helpful visual!

  2. Have I told you two guys lately how proud I am to know you. The last part of the article, about the support system is right up there with not eating to me. I loved the way you put it. Thanks for the read. Keep it up.

  3. Hi gw, I saw on a blog that you have the lending tree “somebody help me” commercial in Quicktime? I’m looking for a copy of that and emailed a rep but they couldn’t give it to me. Can I get a copy from you? Thanks!

  4. Great article. Because of you I started thinking more of my calories as spending (well I didn’t want to “waste” them on junk when I could eat so much more on healthier food.)

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