pennyI still can't quite believe it, but the "Money Diet" I'm on appears to be working; I'm still losing weight.

First, the quick explanation for those of you who don't know the backstory: Since January 1, I've been on a diet. But instead of counting calories, I decided to tally up what I'm saving by not eating junk food. It seemed like it might work -- since nothing else has -- and so far for me, it has.

My weight when I began: 264
My weight last week: 252
My weight this week: 250.5

It's slow progress, yes, but I'm at least convinced that this diet is working. Granted, nobody's going to make a reality TV series based on my diet experiences. I did have a comical moment when I went to the gym the first week, climbed aboard one of those StairMaster-like contraptions and almost fell off. Maybe there would be some melodramatic footage if someone filmed me every time I went through a McDonald's drive-thru to buy my kids the occasional Happy Meal or ice cream. I'm sure that I look like a tragic romantic figure every time I pass by the posters and pictures of McDonald's Angus burger.

-Angus, I only met you several months before I began this diet. Angus, I hardly knew ye.
-"Dad, would you stop kissing the menu?"
-Angus, call me--
-"Dad!"

OK, maybe that's not exactly how our visits to the drive-thru have worked out. As I was saying, mostly this is a drama-free diet. You just pledge to start eating better and start adding up the cash every time you don't do purchase something foolish that could wreck your diet.

This week, I've done pretty well, I feel. I had several chances to destroy my new, healthier eating lifestyle, but somehow, I stuck to my plan.

  • I drove two hours away for a writing project on Tuesday morning and then came back that evening. I had a diet soda and an egg salad sandwich along the way for breakfast; on the way back, I didn't buy anything to eat in the car to tide me over til I got home. Before I began this diet, if I were going on a road trip, I would have bought breakfast at a fast food restaurant or gone to a convenience store and bought a fried breakfast burrito. And I'm sure my old self would have picked up something on the way back. Estimated savings for that day alone: $8.
  • Bag of my favorite pretzels that I used to buy weekly (and occasionally twice a week) but still haven't. Actual savings: $3.29
  • During my two visits to McDonald's, I bought a diet Coke just once; the other time, I bought nothing for myself. Estimated savings: $6
  • I went to the grocery store at least twice and bought no snacks for myself, snacks that I used to eat late at night -- no Doritos or other any kind of chip. Estimated savings: $7
  • I bought cupcakes for my daughter's kindergarten class to celebrate her birthday, and I didn't swipe any for myself (we had extra and don't think I wasn't tempted). Estimated savings: $0.70
There may be more -- in fact, I'm sure are more instances -- but that seems to cover the highlights.

Unfortunately, I also lost money by not going to the YMCA -- we have a membership, and I should be using it more -- but I didn't make it once this week. If I had, I might have finally dropped enough to get into the high 240s. But for now, I'm just glad that I'm losing weight and, theoretically, at least, am also saving some money.

Weekly total saved: $24.99
Total saved this year so far: $96.55

Those are pretty interesting numbers. If they're to be believed, I used to spend almost $100 a month on snacks and generally unnecessary food -- and frankly, I'd rather not believe that.

The slightly less heavyset 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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