SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Times may be lean, but that's no excuse to bulk up, with a new book detailing ways to shape up and eat better on a tight budget -- if you're willing to wait a while to see results.
"The Tight Arse Diet," published next month, is the seventh book by Australian nutrition and fitness consultant Andrew Cate who also runs his own personal training studio.
The book was partly inspired by the global economic meltdown -- one of Cate's catchlines is "could an abdominal crunch save us from the credit crunch?" -- but also stems from the author's belief that eating well and losing weight really need not be a wallet draining exercise.
"Every tip in the book does two things: save money and help you to lose weight," Cate told Reuters by telephone.
"If you can follow six to eight tips over a period of 12 months you can lose about 10 kgs (about 22 pounds) and save A$2,500 ($2,275)."
Cate said that as a personal trainer, he was constantly being asked whether his services -- or a gym membership -- were actually worth paying for.
"I always said that if you have one less packet of crisps and one less coffee every day for a year, you can afford your own personal trainer. And maybe, that way, you won't even need them," he added.
Cate uses scientific research to support all his tips, which range from healthy recipes, meal plans and lifestyle changes that he says should be easy to follow -- because unlike many fitness regimes or fad diets, they're not drastic and can be incorporated into your day.
Examples include doing more housework yourself, using websites to help you stick to your diet and exercise regime, relaxing and getting more sleep and including a little more activity, and less television, in your day.
"Information about weight control has to be practical, to help people find everyday solutions," he said. "Otherwise it gets to hard, and then it becomes a negative experience, which can ultimately put people off fitness and weight loss."
He also advocates eating more inexpensive foods such as vegetables, eggs, legumes and pulses and canned seafood -- all of which have unique weight-reducing properties, but stresses that the key component of "The Tight Arse Diet" is patience.
"Small changes makes a big difference over time," Cate said. "Putting less butter on bread every day isn't that big a change, but over a year, it will add up to 5 kg less fat in your veins and about A$50 in your wallet."
"I do understand people want results, and that's what the book's about, but I also encourage people to look at it from a longer-term point of view -- your health will still be important to you in 12 months time," he said.
"It's like the story of the hare and the tortoise: I'd rather people be like the tortoise, not the hare."
Here are Cate's top three tips for a shapelier, healthier you:
-- Lift weight to lose weight. "Even as a personal trainer with all this equipment at home, my favorite type of exercise is strength training and you don't need equipment for that. You can do lunges and presses every day."
-- Drink less alcohol, even if it's just one less drink a day. "This way, you're not punishing yourself, and over a year, you'll shed about 3 kgs (7 pounds) and save A$700-800."
-- Cook more, eat out less. "You can save money when you cook for yourself, plan your meals and get to know what you put into them. It's better, and cheaper, than most junk food."
($1=1.099 Australian Dollar)
Editing by David Fox