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Lose weight with the Cheapskate!

Put your money where your pie-hole is. Plus: a crucial item to help you survive this crazy winter, and my first-ever deal on an essential product for new parents.

CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!


cheapskate-dietbet

DietBet motivates you with money -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Is there a better deal in the universe than a healthier body and smaller waistline? I think not. And because the holidays -- by which I mean Halloween through New Year's Eve -- got the better of me, I've decided it's time for a kick in the increasingly tight pants.

So I'm starting a DietBet, and I invite you to join me. It works like this: Every participant ponies up $35. If you manage to lose at least 4 percent of your starting weight in four weeks, you split the pot (minus DietBet's percentage) with the other winners. That means you could actually win some cash on top of losing some pounds.

Let's get physical (and philosophical)

I've done a few DietBets before, but the last one was about four years ago. I like them because: 

  • They're public, so I feel more accountable. (Or at least, I feel more embarrassed if I don't succeed.)
  • I'm not just doing this in a vacuum -- I can get support from other players, and give it as well.
  • I like money! It's a good motivator.

On the other hand, there's quite a lot of research that shows diets don't work; the vast majority of folks eventually gain the weight back. The real secret to success is make lifestyle changes, but I think a DietBet can be helpful in kickstarting those changes. And that's my goal.

Indeed, this is my attempt to fix some bad habits:

  • Eating too many meals in front of the TV. Research shows that you eat more while doing so.
  • Eating too quickly. This is another terrible tendency that leads to overeating. Satiety kicks in after about 20 minutes, so if you gobble up your meal in 5-10 minutes, you're that much more likely to go for seconds. Apps such as Interval Timer (iOS) and SlowMow (Android) can help you learn to take time between bites.
  • Sugar addiction. My brain is wired to instantly crave something sweet after a meal. If I fight that craving for about 30 minutes, it goes away. I'm positive that if I kick the sugar habit, I'll shed some weight.

I also plan to do the following:

  • Get at least 30 minutes of cardio activity every day. (Previously I was exercising two or three days a week.) I'm fortunate enough to own an elliptical that I really like, but a Planet Fitness membership is just $10 a month. Hop on that machine, watch awesome TV while you work. Easy.
  • Meditate 5-10 minutes every day. This can help to combat stress, which in turn can help reduce "emotional eating." There are countless meditation apps; consider a lifetime subscription to top-rated Aura Premium for $59.99 -- a way better deal than the $5-10 per month many other apps charge.
  • Revisit intermittent fasting, which is something I tried (and liked) a few years back. Basically, it amounts to skipping a meal, but there's growing research that suggests it has health benefits beyond just weight loss.

See what I'm driving at? I'm looking to make lifestyle changes, not just "diet" for four weeks. But I do want to get back to 175, which was my weight for a long time. I'm not comfortable at 185. And this is how I'm forcing myself to make those changes.

Place your bets!

Lose Weight with the Cheapskate starts this Saturday, Jan. 6, so you've got a couple days to get your ducks in a row. Make sure to read the FAQ page if you're new to DietBet, as you'll want to get a full understanding for how it works.  

Let's do this thing! If it's not right for you, no harm, no foul. But please share the bet link with others you think might want to participate.

One final note: Any money I might win at the end, I'll donate to charity. Don't want you to think your hard-earned cash is going into my pocket.

Your thoughts?

dbpower-baby-monitor
Dbpower

Bonus deal: Calling all new parents! You are lucky, lucky people, because you've got access to some seriously awesome tech that just wasn't available when I was raising my little cheapskates.

To wit: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Nova Tech (via Amazon ) has this Dbpower sound-activated color baby monitor for $95.19 shipped when you apply promo code EM3PIE5V at checkout. Reg. price: $140.

The kit consists of two items: a Wi-Fi camera that can tilt, pan, detect sound and record video; and a 4.3-inch color monitor/camera remote-control. The camera can also play lullabies, and it supports two-way audio so you can soothe your little critter without having to get out of bed or off the couch.

gooloo-1000a-portable-car-starter
Gooloo

Bonus deal No. 2: This winter is nasty. So nasty that getting stranded with a dead battery might be more than just an inconvenience -- it could be dangerous.

Be prepared. Grab something like the Gooloo 1,000-amp Portable Car Jump-Starter for $70.19 shipped when you apply promo code ZFR57BKT. Regular price: $90.

I've seen lots of portable jumpers like this, many for less money, but they had lower capacity: 450-amp or 600-amp. That's fine for smaller cars, but if you have a truck, van or anything else with a big engine (and big battery), this will cover you.

The unit also has two USB outputs for charging mobile devices, a three-mode LED flashlight and an LCD so you can monitor charge and output status. It's something you definitely hope you won't need, but will be awfully grateful to have.

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