Saving money and losing weight are two of the biggest challenges a person can face. And they definitely tie into each other. Fatty, fast foods are often the cheapest and quickest options available.
And gym memberships? Don’t even get us started. Are those weights made out of diamonds? Are the treadmills lined with gold? Do the showers spray fresh beluga caviar?
As difficult as it may be, it is indeed possible to lose weight while saving money. And living a healthier life can be more affordable in the long run. That’s why we spoke to The Experts to find out the best ways to keep your body and wallet in tip top shape.
Plan your menu
You barely have time to do one job. How are you supposed to become your own private chef? But cooking for yourself can actually save you time in the long run! As registered dietitian Kim Melton told us:
“Plan your menu, make a list of groceries according to what healthy recipes you chose for meals and snacks for a week and stick to your plan. Not only does this save you time because it means you have everything on hand and don’t have to make any surprise trips to the grocery store, but it saves you money as well. You are less tempted to eat unhealthy foods when you think about what you’re eating and cooking. Another suggestion would be to download a meal tracking app on your phone. These apps are usually free. We often eat more than we think and this will help you to be more aware of how much you’re actually eating throughout the day and will keep you on track with your specific calorie/energy needs.”
And you can use that phone to listen to food-themed music or podcasts as you cook. Or whatever it is you like to listen to.
Making your own food at home also means you won’t have to eat out, which isn’t only expensive, but tends to be less healthy.
“A study published last year in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics discovered that the average restaurant meal contains between 1,205 and 1,496 calories,” Dr. Apovian, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, told us. “This applies to both chain and independent restaurants. The only way you can be certain of what you are consuming is to prepare your meals at home. You’ll save money too!”
Drink more water
You’re already paying for water, so you might as well drink it. And Dr. Apovian recommends it: “Drinking water keeps the metabolism running, helps us to feel full throughout the day, encourages us to eat less at meals without deprivation, and saves you money you would have spent on other beverages.”
And water isn’t the only liquid you can drink to lose weight and save money. Dr. Apovian suggests trying out a smoothie lunch with whey and casein protein.
Don’t forget to sleep
Losing weight isn’t just about what you do while you’re awake. It’s also important to try and get a good night’s sleep. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what best-selling nutrition author Yuri Elkaim had to say:
“Consistent, high-quality sleep is the most underestimated aid to help you lose weight without exercise, hands down. It starts with establishing a regular sleep schedule; go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Your natural daily rhythm (known as your circadian rhythm) is probably the most important determinant of the health of your hormones and your body’s ability to lose weight and keep it off. If you get that all out of whack, you can kill yourself in the gym and eat green salads and grilled chicken breasts all you want, but none of it will help you lose weight. Seven to nine hours every night is what you’re aiming for. About seven and a half is the magic number for me.”
Try alternative exercise
As we said earlier, joining a gym tends to come with some pretty outrageous fees. But there are a lot of other options out there to burn calories.
Melton suggests turning to apps and the internet rather than gym memberships. Or as she puts it: “I recommend certain apps that can help them track their food, portion size and calorie level such as MyFitnessPal. This app will allow certain calories based on personal information you enter into the app. Also, there are several good home workouts that you can access on YouTube if you have internet. Many of these exercises use body weight or very simple dumbbells, resistance bands or similar inexpensive equipment. The workouts are free and all can be done in the privacy of your home without the expensive gym membership.”
You can even move those muscles without leaving your chair (though you should also leave your chair). Elkaim offers this unique tip: “The next time you sit down to eat, try priming your body to receive those nutrients by contracting your muscles for 30 seconds. You’ll feel heat generating in your body, which means your muscles are generating heat as a by-product. Your breathing will also increase. It may feel silly, but you’re essentially producing some of the same effects you’d experience during a workout. We know that the biggest meal of your day should come after your workout, and that’s because exercising makes your muscle cells open up like a flower to the sun. This is exactly when you want to give them the nutrients they need. Eating at any other time of the day increases the likelihood that the nutrients you’re taking in will be stored elsewhere in your body, like in your fat cells. You don’t want that, so prevent it by turning your muscles on before each meal; you’ll decrease the potential damage of whatever you’re sitting down to eat.”
Even if you are willing to spend some money on your exercise routine, there are still far cheaper options than a monthly gym membership. Fitness expert Amie Hoff created one such option, called the FitKit, that she sees as the perfect affordable gym replacement:
“I created FitKit to offer people an affordable workout solution, a way to lose weight and get in shape without the pricey gym fees. As a personal trainer based in NYC, I work one on one with clients which can be costly, so there are a ton of free resources that come with the FitKit: a 6-week workout and nutrition plan, workout videos, 24/7 email access to our trainers and dietitians to ask any questions. It’s like having me as a personal trainer without the hefty price tag! Working out, losing weight and staying fit also make you more productive, which in turn allows you to work harder, get ahead and ultimately make more money.”
FitKit costs $39.99, which is what you’ll pay for just one month at a lot of hoity toity fancy gyms.
There’s no magic bullet
At the end of the day, there’s no one solution to losing weight and saving money. That’s why you have to focus on multiple methods. And it’s all the better if you can work multiple methods into single activities. That’s why health and wellness expert Audrey Christie told us you should “make sure the things you do serve double duty.
“For example, if your errands are within a 10-mile radius, ride your bike… this burns calories and saves on gas plus wear and tear on your ride. Gardening provides you with fresh veggies and calories. There are lots of double duty things you can do.”
Christie says these tips have helped her and her clients drop many pounds without losing too much money, which, if they were British, would also be called pounds.
Take all of the tips listed here to heart, and you too can lose weight while saving money. It may not always be easy, but if it’s important to you, the results will be worth it. You’ll feel more fit, and you’ll have money to pay your bills so you don’t end up in a bad credit situation.
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 began sharing her how her lifestyle allows for major financial savings too.
Yuri Elkaim (@yelkaim) is a fitness and fat loss expert, holistic nutritionist, and NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and the All-Day Fat Burning Diet. A former professional player turned health crusader, he’s most famous for boosting your energy and helping you burn fat and get lean faster by training smarter, not harder, and eating healthy foods that actually taste great. He’s on a mission to transform the lives of more than 10 million people by 2018. Visit yurielkaim.com for more clear, science-backed advice that makes fit and healthy simple again.
Amie Hoff is an internationally recognized fitness expert, dedicated to improving the lives of people everywhere. As a personal trainer, media contributor and public speaker, Amie thrives as a motivator and role model, sharing her expert fitness and health knowledge around the globe.
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!
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