Paula Rosenberg Freelance Writer: Online Portfolio

Information on NYC based Writer, Paula Rosenberg

Best Newcomer Award Winning Personal Essay on Viewshound: Loosing Weight on a Budget

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I started writing for Viewshound.com and am very proud and honored to have won their Best Newcomer Award for this article on how I lost weight while saving money during the recession.

Viewshound Weight Loss Essay (Please note Viewshound’s website was closed in January of 2012, the link no longer works, but you can read the article as it appeared below)


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The beauty of the recession

When the economy turned sour I needed to budget, and my effort to save money resulted in a fatter wallet and a smaller waistline.

ViewsHound Best Newcomer Prize Winner
By Paula Rosenberg – Thursday 09 Jun 2011
nyc, budgeting, weight loss

Shutterstock_28025548

Less of this, and more walking!

Moving from the Midwest to New York was daunting. At 25, I had just accepted my first job after finishing graduate school. Trying to adjust to the high cost of living and paying off student loans and credit card bills, I spent many sleepless nights wondering how I was going to make this work.

To top everything off the recession hit and suddenly the cost of groceries and commuting to work skyrocketed. Despite how dire my financial situation seemed I was determined not to high tail it back to my mom’s house in Cleveland just to save on rent money. I needed to come up with a strict budget and figure out what costs I could eliminate from my life.

I started with the easiest corner to cut, which was eating out. I ditched take out during my lunch hour and opted for brown bagging it. Dinner out with friends turned into a once weekly special event. Chinese egg rolls and carry out pizza were no longer staples in my diet. By making these minor changes I noticed that in two months my checking account had grown and my waistline had shrunk.

I had been obese for what felt like my entire life. Growing up in Ohio with my Hungarian mother’s creamy chicken paprika with dumplings and inheriting my Jewish father’s love of bagels and smoked fish didn’t help. I had tried diet after diet only to lose twenty pounds and gain forty back. Here I was making small adjustments to my lifestyle that didn’t seem like major sacrifices and I was losing weight. My accidental diet was so motivating that I used the money I was saving by not eating out to join a fitness center.

In the past I had joined gyms only to never go. I was basically throwing money out of the window. This time I told myself that justifying spending $66 a month on a membership meant that I had to go. Pounds and inches began to melt away.

In my efforts to save money I found that working out was not the only way I was burning calories. Dropping money on cab rides seemed foolish when it’s really faster to walk 30 blocks then sit stuck in gridlock. I planned my grocery shopping around going to Trader Joe’s because I knew I would spend half as much on a week’s worth of groceries as I would at my local corner store. This meant that I had an extra long walk built into my week. I learned that I could make healthy and budget-savvy substitutes for some of my favorite dishes. I spent less on a bag of whole wheat mini bagels than the cost of one jumbo bagel at a deli.

My lifestyle changes impacted more than my lifelong battle with the bathroom scale. My whole attitude regarding food and my appearance changed. In the past, going out to eat had a lot of social connotations around it. Getting together to catch up with friends and family always revolved around food. Wanting to still have a social life while saving pennies, I invited friends out for activities that did not involve buying food. Weekends were now comprised of walks over the Brooklyn Bridge or vintage shopping. Instead of dining out, other budget conscious friends and I began having pot luck suppers and packing our own healthy lunches for rendezvous in the park. I was still able to enjoy the occasional meal out, but the food was no longer the focus.

Seventeen months after starting my new spending plan, I was 80 pounds thinner, four dress sizes smaller, and healthier than I have ever been in my life. My blood pressure and cholesterol went down dramatically. For all the woes the recession has caused, it also gave me a reason to wake up and discover that wasting money on unnecessary calories was foolish and investing in my health and personal happiness essential. I can have my bagel and eat it too, mini whole wheat of course.

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Written by paularosenberg

June 27, 2011 at 7:56 pm

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