Avoid Payday Loans By Staying Healthy: A Wellness Guide

Wellness Guide

Medical debt continues to be a big problem for many people in the United States. According to a survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, over a quarter of Americans are struggling to pay their medical bills.
And it’s not surprising. Healthcare can be incredibly expensive. Just one night in the hospital can cost almost $2,000, and if you aren’t insured or your insurance doesn’t cover the stay, that’s all coming out of your pocket. If your credit isn’t great, you may even be tempted to turn to a payday loan to handle the costs.
With these tips from the experts, you can lower your chances of running into costly medical issues, saving yourself a lot of money in the long run.

Rethink the gym.

Gym memberships are costly, and it’s hard to find the time to actually go there. If you’re paying for a membership but not actually using it, then you’re just throwing money away. And if you can afford to just throw money away, then why are you reading this website when you could be racing helicopters around your top secret private island?

Here’s what health and wellness expert Audrey Christie (@Audrey_C_Mcl) had to say about gym memberships:

“I love to tell people to get rid of the gym membership. It often does more harm than good. Especially if you are simply trying to move more or lose weight. You can’t outwork overeating and trying to outwork it leads to a serious decrease in the happiness department. Instead, think back to what you liked to do as a child… ride bikes, play a particular sport… these can be clues as to how you might like to move your body as an adult. Once you figure out how your body wants to move and play… aim for thirty or so minutes a day.” Check out Christie’s website AudreyChristie.com for more of her advice:

You should also consider some kind of strength training. “Due to the natural process of sarcopenia, we all begin to lose muscle mass around age thirty at a rate of one percent per year,” nutrition expert Dr. Caroline Apovian explained to us. “This process accelerates at age forty. This is a health problem for many reasons, but one of the main ones in regards to weight is that our basal metabolic rate is primarily determined by the amount of lean muscle mass we have. So, as our muscles shrink, our metabolisms slow down.”

How can you avoid the worst effects? Dr. Apovian has the answers:

“While this process happens for everyone, weight gain and weakness are not inevitable side effects of aging. With the combination of a high protein, whole foods diet and strength training, many of my patients become stronger and healthier than they ever have been. Strength training will also provide people (of all ages) with the following health benefits: lower stress levels, improved cognitive abilities, less bone loss, and reduced risks for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.”

And Dr. Apovian assures us you can get these benefits without a costly gym membership:

“Studies have shown that lifting weights just twice per week for about thirty minutes is enough to rebuild lean muscle mass. I advise beginners to start slowly, maintaining proper form with lighter weights.  Increase weight and intensity as you progress. Make sure to work all major muscle groups in the body.

“Using free weights at home is an excellent alternative to joining a gym, or there are many gyms that offer lower costs for community members. As long as you are consistently challenging yourself, working out at home with a pair of dumbbells can do the trick.”

Registered dietitian Kim Melton (@NutritionPro_1) joined in the “quit the gym” chorus: “Workout at home. There are several apps that you can download onto your phone that have a variety of workout routines at various levels and use little to no equipment. There are also hundreds of great workouts for free on YouTube from yoga to strength training to cardio. This eliminates the need for expensive gym equipment and/or a membership to save you money.”

If you do have some money for fitness but don’t think the gym is your speed, Calli De La Haye, co-founder of Kalimukti Yoga (@Kalimuktiyoga), has an alternative suggestion: “Making yoga part of your lifestyle optimizes your health and it doesn’t need to be expensive. You can roll out the mat and practice on your own, anywhere for free or if you’re not sure where to start and prefer to have a teacher, our site offers you yoga classes for £8.99 a month [about $11 USD], which is cheaper than attending one yoga class at a studio. Here’s the site so you can check it out and there’s even a free 14-day trial to get you started.”

Sleep well.

Some wellness tips won’t cost you anything. For example, getting more sleep. Of course, just because you don’t have to spend money on it, doesn’t mean it’s always easy to make the time to get a good night’s sleep, but if you can, the benefits are worth it. Dr. Apovian is here to explain exactly what those benefits are:

“A lack of sufficient sleep not only stimulates high cortisol levels but also interrupts the balance between our satiety and hunger hormones. Two important hormones, ghrelin and leptin, are brought into balance while you sleep. Ghrelin signals the body to replenish energy stores and is experienced as hunger and cravings. Leptin helps us to feel full and satisfied. The day after a less than optimal night of sleep, ghrelin levels remain high and leptin levels drop, regardless of what we eat.

“Studies also indicate that getting less than the optimal amount of sleep regularly negatively impacts memory and the areas of the brain associated with rational decision-making. This makes our decisions (like whether or not to have a doughnut for breakfast), more impulsive.

There are some reasons why getting a good night’s sleep in middle age is more challenging than before. Shifting circadian rhythms, a natural decrease in melatonin, and the hormonal side effects of aging, especially for women, can all interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. I offer many tips on my blog for reversing this trend, but in a nutshell, keep a consistent sleep schedule, blockout seven to nine hours for sleep every night, and be aware of the lifestyle habits that encourage sound sleep (limited screen time, healthy, protein-rich diet, cardiovascular exercise) and the ones that interfere with sleep (inconsistent sleeping and eating schedule, added sugars, foods high in fat, sedentary lifestyle).”

Shop smart, eat smart.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could eat whatever you want and stay healthy? Sadly, the world isn’t always nice. BUT you can eat healthy without setting your wallet on fire.

Brett Graff (@BrettGraff), The Home Economist and author of NOT BUYING IT: Raising Happier, Healthier & More Successful Kids, gave us the rundown on planning your meals:

“There’s one ingredient to healthy and inexpensive eating: planning. If you wait until one hour before dinner to plan dinner, you’ll grab whatever is available and it will never be the healthiest or cheapest option. When you sit down for just 45 minutes or less a week on, say, Sunday, you can map out healthy meals using seasonal (that means cheaper) ingredients and sale items.

“You can, for example, cook a big pot of black beans to eat with chicken on Monday, rice on Tuesday, and you can add light sour cream, cilantro, and puree to use as a sandwich spread by Friday. You can stock up on healthy, whole grain breads to have with turkey on Monday and as a side to a salad on Wednesday. Plus you can incorporate sale items into meals. During my planning, I look up recipes and then type the ingredients into one of the online delivery services so I don’t forget anything. Even with a fee, you can feed a family for a fraction of what takeout or last minute restaurant meals cost. If you buy sale items, you’ll lower your costs. What’s more, planning once a week eliminates having to plan every single day, so you cut your emotional and stress costs as well. That’s healthy.”

Graff also told us which foods to buy to get the healthiest bang for your buck:

“It’s actually cheaper to live a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to buy organic vegetables. There’s a great debate about synthetic vs. natural pesticides. It might seem that natural pesticides are safer but guess what? They’re still toxic and created to kill bugs. There are plenty of natural substances you wouldn’t want in your bloodstream, snake venom and arsenic, for example. Buy fruit and vegetables with skin and always check the Environmental Working Group’s website for the “Dirty Dozen and Clean 15.” They’ll tell you the conventional produce with the least pesticide residue.

“Also, you don’t need bottled water. The Natural Resource Defense Council found that most of it comes from the public water supply anyway. Most municipal water is completely safe, so fill from the faucet with reusable bottles and keep them in the fridge for when you’re on-the-go. When it comes to money, you’ll find that fresh produce is cheaper than takeout. Skip prepared foods and buy a bag of lettuce and a rotisserie chicken if you don’t have the patience to cook.”

Melton also advocates meal planning. “Plan ahead and take food with you to school, work or when you will be gone from home,” Melton advised. “If you have healthy food available when hunger strikes, you will be less likely to spend money and make less healthy choices. As someone once said, never shop when you’re hungry. That’s good advice!”

And what sort of food does Melton recommend you buy? Or more accurately, avoid buying? “Eat less sugar. Research has shown that a major population eats more sugar than they should.  Look for recipes online that use less sugar or simply use less in your favorite recipes. By cutting back on this ingredient, you will not only save money but your health will be better.”

More affordable pharmaceuticals.

Pharmaceuticals are one of the most expensive, regular medical costs people face. Whether it’s pills, insulin, or inhalers, it’s all costly and it can be even more expensive if you aren’t able to take the meds you need. That’s why Joseph Sanginiti, President and CEO of FamilyWize (@FamilyWize) gave us advice on how you can keep your pharmaceutical bills more affordable:

“Always talk to your pharmacist. Your pharmacist, like all healthcare professionals, cares about your health and wants to best help their customers. Get to know your pharmacist so they can help you find alternatives if you are having trouble affording your monthly prescriptions. Don’t be afraid to do a shop comparison on your prescription and tell them if you find a better price.

“Compare prices with your local pharmacies. There are ways to compare prices that are as easy as the tap of a finger. For example, the FamilyWize app for iOs and Android has a Drug Price Lookup Tool that shows the different pricing for your medications across local pharmacies. It helps you identify the most cost-efficient option. Pharmacies just a few miles apart can have different prices for the same drug, saving you big in the long run.

“Opt for generic drugs over brand names. According to the FDA, the average cost of a generic drug is 80-85 percent lower than its brand name counterpart. Generic drugs have the same ingredients, dosage, intended use, side effects, and strength as the original drug.

“Use the same savings strategies for your prescriptions as you do for other purchases. Check out the pharmacy counters at big-box and club stores – they may offer better discounts than you can get through insurance. Or, see if your insurer has a preferred pharmacy to get the best prices.

“Download prescription drug savings cards and apps. Prescription savings cards are easy to use and can get you major discounts. The FamilyWize Free Prescriptions Savings Card and app have no eligibility requirements and save people on average 43 percent off of their prescription medications! Whether you’re insured, uninsured, or underinsured, you can download the app or print the card, show it to your pharmacists, and see the savings.”

It’s important to look after your health every single day. And with this Wellness Guide, you can do it without going broke.

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Contributors
Dr. Caroline Apovian has worked in weight loss and nutrition for over 25 years.  She currently serves as Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, a professor of medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, and vice president of The Obesity Society. She lives in Boston, MA.
Audrey Christie (@Audrey_C_Mcl) is a holistic wellness practitioner that helps to empower her clients to wellness. Her richly developed background and training includes Registered Nurse, Reiki Master, Certified Clinical Master of Aromatherapy, Yoga Teacher, Homeopathics and Epigenetics. She draws on all of this (plus infinite universal knowledge) to work with her clients via one-on-one sessions or group classes and courses. Recently Audrey has begun sharing her how her lifestyle allows for major financial savings too.
Calli De La Haye (@Kalimuktiyoga) is an RYT500 qualified and experienced yoga teacher, having established a busy yoga studio in Jersey with 25 weekly classes Calli expanded online to share her mission of helping people find freedom through yoga. She is Co-Founder of Kalimukti (www.kalimukti.com), an online yoga platform offering classes for all levels of ability across a range of different yoga styles, that can be practiced anywhere anytime.
Brett Graff, has been seen writing and reporting on money and personal finance in The LA Times, Yahoo! Finance, Cosmopolitan, The New York Times and the Fiscal Policy Institute, to name a few. Brett also provides her insight in the column, The Home Economist, which is nationally syndicated and published in newspapers all over the country. Her book “NOT BUYING IT: Raising Happier, Healthier & More Successful Kids” is now available!
Kim Melton (@NutritionPro_1) is a consulting and media Registered Dietitian specializing in health,  fitness and weight management. She has a passion for teaching others how to implement sound nutrition and healthy lifestyle principles into their lives. Check out her website nutritionproconsulting.com for recipes and articles that can help you reach your health goals!
Joseph Sanginiti (@FamilyWize) is President & Chief Executive Officer of FamilyWize, which improves people’s lives by providing access to affordable prescription medications. He has spent more than 25 years with several Fortune 500 organizations. As a senior executive in the pharmacy benefit management industry, Joe was responsible for both the integrations and management of pharmacy operations nationally. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of a number of companies and non-profit organizations.

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