Weight Loss Done Cheap

I was feeling much better about myself this morning when it was time for my weekly weigh in. Although I spent the majority of last week acting like I was still on vacation (not enough cardio and still eating too much), I now feel like I am back on track. This week is going to be a good diet week, I’ve promised myself that.

This morning’s weigh in result was…

211 lbs

I’ve lost three pounds over the past week. That’s pretty good considering. Hopefully next week’s weigh in will be even better.

I was taking the bus into work yesterday morning and I started making small talk with the woman sitting next to me. She was a mother of two, her youngest child now about three years old. As we were transported along she explained to me how she really, really wanted to lose weight. She had gained quite a bit of weight through both pregnancies and now she was desperate to shed those pounds. When I asked her what she was doing to try to lose weight she looked at me and said very sadly, “I can’t afford a gym membership so I can’t lose weight”. This comment took me completely by surprise. It occurred to me that there is probably a large percentage of people who use a lack of money as an excuse not to go on a diet or exercise. If you are one of these people who are using money as an excuse not to lose weight then keep reading because here’s what you need to know for weight loss done cheap.

Don't let money stand in the way between you and your weight loss goals. There are many things you can do to lose weight cheaply.

Don't let money stand in the way between you and your weight loss goals. There are many things you can do to lose weight cheaply.

There are many reasons why dieting may seem like huge sticker shock for your wallet. Sadly, eating better and healthier foods can be more expensive (I have discussed this in my previous post “Will Rising Gas Prices Make Americans Fatter?“). Those foods you can pick up that are cheap and easy to make are often the last things that you should be eating. If you do not have a lot of money, but are determined to lose weight, there are things that you can do so that dieting is cheap and within your budget. You just have to use your imagination and find the best deals out there.

One of the biggest and best way to save money is in regards to exercise. Some feel that they have to join a gym and get a personal trainer to make the most of their workout. That is a great idea, but it is not the only effective way to exercise. There are hundreds of free ways that you can get a good workout. You can walk, job, ride a bike, or go skating – if you already have a bike or skates. You can join a local sports group or just spend time playing games in the yard with your children. If you think about it, there are great, free options out there and they are all good forms of exercise (for more suggestions see the posts “Fun Exercises that Help You Lose Weight“, “Exercises You Can Do While Sitting” and “Exercises You Can Do at Work“).

Buying healthy foods on a budget is a bit harder, but it can easily be done if you take your time. The key is to come up with healthy recipes that you can make from scratch. That means more time in the kitchen preparing your food, but that saves fat, calories, or carbs, depending on what diet you are going to do. Opening something and throwing it in the microwave saves time and money, but the food is no good for you. Even the preservatives are bad and can throw off your health.

Portion control is one way to save money. As a bonus, that is also a staple of a good diet program. If you are going to buy chicken breasts, find out a typical portion size and freeze what you are not using in individual baggies. That allows you to only eat what you need and save money by having more to go around. You can also buy other things in bulk that can be frozen or used in many different meals throughout the week. Again, this requires more cooking from scratch, but it saves money and keeps meals more healthy.

You can also avoid a lot of cost by making a grocery list and sticking with it. I am a big believer in sitting down on the weekend and planning out my meals for the next week. Not only does this mentally prepare me for the days to come, but it keeps me from buying foods (particularly snacks) that I do not need (you can read my post about meal planning here “Daily Meal Planning“). If you go to the grocery store with a shopping list then you will be much less likely to buy things on impulse, a habit that can kill any budget. Not only that, but food waste, which is also a big waste of money, should go way down because you are buying what you plan to eat and nothing more.

A few last shopping tips for weight loss done cheap are: buy in bulk, clip grocery coupons, buy fruits and vegetables from a local farmer’s market and limit how much you eat outside. Buying food in bulk is a no-brainer for saving money, but does take some time to portion it out and freeze it. Foods that suit this best are ones that can be frozen, such as meats, soups and some vegetables and fruits. Another no-brainer, which is often overlooked, is the benefit of taking a few minutes to look for grocery deals and coupons in the weekend paper. These little savings can really add up over time. Buying your fruits and vegetables from a local farmer’s market is much less expensive than buying these foods from a large chain grocery store, and they generally tend to be healthier for you. Finally, stick to your meal plans and pack yourself  healthy lunches for work or school every day. Although eating out of the home saves some time, it does not save you money, especially when you have a refrigerator full of food at home.

As you can see, there are many easy things you can do to make losing weight an inexpensive part of your lifestyle. Making excuses to yourself, such as “I can’t lose weight right now because I can’t afford it” is just that – an excuse. Although you may want to join that weight loss program that has you spending hundreds of dollars on their products and “support”, or you may want to join the local fitness center with the steep monthly fees, these things are not critical to your weight loss success. Weight loss done cheap is as effective and successful as weight loss that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars. If losing weight is something you really want to do, don’t let money stand in your way.


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1 comment to Weight Loss Done Cheap

  • Laura

    Today I blogged about how much it annoys me when people say ‘BMI is a load of garbage because it would dictate that a football player is fat’ and use it as an excuse to ignore their own high BMI. What that woman said to you on the bus has topped it! Walking, running around with the kids, running outside in general, cheap exercise DVD’s…you do not need to go OTT to lose weight!

    Congratulations on your weight loss and keep up with it :).

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