Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Frugal & Sustainable Weightloss

By Frugal Trenches

This might not seem like a topic for a simple, green, frugal co-op but lately I've been pondering just how timely and relevant this issue is. To live a simple, green & frugal life it is ever so helpful to be as healthy as we can be, we owe it to ourselves, our partners and children. Many people will at some point in their lives gain weight for a variety of reasons and therefore many of us will be in a position where we would like to shed a pound or two! Lately I've watched several friends spend thousands of dollars trying to get fit, both going into debt in order to do so! I also have a couple of friends who say they can't lose weight because they can't afford it. I think many people have begun believing a myth the weight loss industry wants us to believe: you need to buy something special and spend $$ in order to fight the flab! This couldn't be further from the truth. So, today I decided to share with you all some healthy, frugal & fun ways to get rid of unwanted weight or shape up without breaking the bank - you may even save a penny or two! Please remember this is simply a list of what works for me, not medical advice, so please consult a Dr before you begin any new weightloss journey.

1. Make the time each day for a walk, a 30 minute walk each morning, or on your lunch break or even after work will work wonders! Eventually try to increase this to 45 minutes to an hour.

2. Start a food diary & be honest - have a good look at what you are really eating and see if you can find any patterns or areas where you could make changes.

3. Focus on getting your 5 a day - that means a mix of 5 fruits & veggies a day (minimum) with protein, dairy & good carbs!

4. Get as much FREE support as you can - go to your Dr, nurse or public health department. See if you can get a referral to a dietitian if you are really struggling or having food cravings etc.

5. Learn what a portion is! So many people eat 3 or 4x a standard portion size and wonder why they can't lose weight. Again a dietitian should help!

6. Get some books from the library with good recipes in them to keep yourself motivated and encouraged.

7. Get into the garden and get your house tidy! Gardening and cleaning are great forms of exercise! If you need to get moving when you are cleaning, try putting on some music and dancing around to it! Just remember you may want to close your curtains ;-) In fact, the week I painted my lounge I lost 5 lbs without trying!

8. Get on your bike (remember the helmet!). If you don't have a bike see if you can borrow a friends, get one on freecycle or save up for one! Always remember those helmets!

9. Phone your local council and find out all the info on your local pools, rec centres etc. Many offer free or subsidized sessions, see if there are any special promotions on or if they've received any funding that you could tap into. For example my local gym has lottery funded sessions with a personal trainer for free. You can only go once a week for 30 minutes but it is a great program!

10. Try to make your meals from scratch. You will then know what is going into them, how much butter, creams etc. I make a big batch of homemade soup each week, it costs me about £1 = $1.75 to make and I get 6 healthy sized portions. This is a good healthy, frugal meal which helps me keep my calories in check!

11. Make use of any free internet tools but remember to keep the focus on your health! We all have different bodies with different needs and I don't believe in a one size fits all approach!

12. Buddy up with a friend or work colleague, see if you can start a walking group at work or try to get together with a friend a couple times a week to encourage each other, run or walk with each other.

13. Remember what you loved doing as a child - did you love playing tennis or sprinting. See if you can incorporate what you love into your weekly budget!

14. GET OUTDOORS - most of us have times in our lives where we feel like we spend the majority of our lives behind a desk, so try to make the most of the time you have off work to get outdoors! Like the picture at the start of the post, there are so many beautiful places to explore. Get a book out from the library about the city you live in or find out from your local council what walks are in your area and make use of them. Treat yourselves like tourists at the weekend and get out and enjoy what is all around you!

15. Finally, my personal motto is Forgive Yourself And Move On! We will all have the odd day or two when we eat too much and move too little, but honestly that is life. There will be birthday parties, work events etc, there will be days where everything seems to be going against you. When you let these days get you down, you begin to feel like you have to throw in the towel. Instead try to learn from those days, how did you feel, what coping mechanisms did you employ and brush it off as just another day.

A healthy, simple & frugal life is a way of life, not something you do to simply get rid of 10 or 20 lbs. Making positive changes to live a healthier life doesn't necessarily happen instantly, like everything in life we need to view weight loss as a journey rather than a race!

I'd love to hear from you. What tips do you have for healthy weightloss or trying to become more fit?