Recent years have seen the rising of some new trends in the lives of many of us today. Due to our struggling economy, many Americans are now working hard to live within the means of a smaller budget. The other common obstacle we face these days is the challenge to eat healthier by foregoing the easy choices of fast food whether it is take out, delivery, or making choices that can cause our health to deteriorate slowly, increasing our trips to the family physician.
These tough economic times have forced many if us to tighten our belts, which coincides with what we’ve been told by our doctors to lose weight so we can tighten our belts. Difficult decisions now have to be made about planning budgets and meals for ourselves and our families. Ironically, the stress of the economy can force many of us to over eat, thereby spending more money on things like fast food, which would then cost us even more money down the road for health costs and prescription medication.
Many articles have addressed this need both through newspapers, magazines, and on line sources. Within these various publications there are many commonalities about losing weight and staying within a budget.
- Try Water Instead: This should be the first rule for everyone. It costs less to drink from the tap or even if we make the small investment of a water filter and we can save lots of money in the long run versus spending it on sodas and other drinks. Plus water is much healthier for us. Many soft drinks have artificial flavoring, artificial coloring, sweeteners, and in most cases quite a bit of sodium (salt). We can do our bodies a favor by reducing our intake of such things.
- Brown Bag Lunch and Snacks: Going out to eat everyday can be costly when we add up even $5 a day for fast food or even buying healthy food as take out. The food in the workplace vending machines will not only put a dent in the wallet, but over time, can add another notch in our belts as we continue to over pay for the chips and candy bars. It would be less expensive to buy items at the grocery store in bulk and bring our lunches from home. Another idea is to bring last night’s leftovers and pre-package our snacks. This provides the opportunity to select healthier foods such as fruit and vegetables instead of chips and chocolate from the machine. Brining sandwiches or salad from home guarantees that the food is fresh and better for the body.
- Shop the Sales Weekly for Fresh Produce: While going to the grocery store for most everything we need makes for an easy one stop shopping experience, it is equally important to shop for the sales in various other stores using weekly sales circulars to compare prices. Another source can be local produce stands for buying fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruit and vegetable prices may be better than that of a grocery store. Either way, fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier than some of the processed foods often stored in cans or plastic packing and preserved by artificially.
- Walk/Go to the Park: Whether we live in a city, or in a suburban neighborhood, walking is still one of the best exercises we can do on a daily basis. If living in the city walking to public transportation stops becomes a daily form of exercise, and typically there are neighborhood stores within walking distance from our homes. For those living in suburban areas, instead of spending money on going to the movies, or out to eat; maybe the best idea could be to plan a picnic to a park or the beach if one is near. The best part is not paying those high movie ticket prices, plus bringing food from home. This brings with it great opportunities to exercise with family and friends with the activities we can enjoy at the park or the beach.
- Eat Less at Meals: Part of eating healthy and saving money is also being mindful of how much we are supposed to eat. Check labels and look at recommended portion to eat a true balanced meal. By eating less food, the weight will come off. Eating less can also help in reducing the monthly grocery budget.
- Do More Housework and Yard Work: Instead of hiring someone to do cleaning, laundry, and the yard work; save money by doing it yourself. Investing in the proper equipment will save money over time when considering the cost of hiring someone to do the work for you. Not only will you save money, but doing the cleaning and cutting the grass also creates a lot of important cardiovascular exercise, making it possible to shed even more weight.
- DVD’s and Fitness Equipment: Many of those exercise items and programs seen on television can be great motivators for training and losing weight. Paying for the items on television can be expensive. Finding exercise DVD’s or books can be as easy as going to the library or renting them as needed. Also, look for discount websites like “Amazon” or “Ebay” for buying books or equipment. Look for second hand stores for buying used equipment that has probably not been touched by the original owner. Trying to borrow equipment or DVD’s from friends and family is even better because it is absolutely FREE.
There is no need to wait for the New Year to make the resolution to start saving money and losing weight. We simply need to apply some simple guidelines. Reading labels for the nutritional information and reading the store circulars for sales will definitely be a start. Finding affordable and healthy alternatives to enjoy our friends and families can save dollars and lower our calorie count all at the same time. Not only will it help prolong our own lives, but the lives of the ones