Losing weight shouldn’t be constrained by budget, so do not think it has to be!
My weight loss battle took place just as I finished university.
I was broke and jobless at the time! But I didn’t let that stop me.
There are quite a few well established misconceptions about weight loss; one being that you have to spend lots of money to slim down.
This is simply not the case!
Weight loss is more about determination, discipline and having a plan in place than the amount of money you spend.
Granted, not all foods are cheap, and healthy food can be highly priced.
Moreover, you can spend a king’s ransom on gym memberships, expensive diet plans and even expert advice. I really do not think this is all that necessary and I am living proof of that.
I also don’t think that achieving your weight loss goals has to take over your life.
I lost 50lb when I was extremely busy job searching and trying to set up an online business at the same time.
I didn’t let my hectic schedule put me off my stride!
So, let’s take a peak at some of my top weight loss tips for losing weight on a budget whilst working your butt off with a busy schedule.
1. ditch the gym membership
Gym’s are not only expensive, but they are time consuming.
After you’ve dropped $50 on a monthly gym membership, you then have to make an effort to actually get there and all that that entails.
You have to pack your gym bag, you have to drive there, get dressed and then drive back home! All very time consuming and tiring for anyone on a busy schedule.
The truth is you don’t need to spend the earth on exercise to lose weight and you don’t need to let exercise take over your life.
what I did
When I was trying to lose weight, I relied on two things:-
Yup, I took up running and would run around 4 miles every 3 days, which took me around an hour per run. I burnt about 500 calories for each 4 mile run.
When I wasn’t running, I did HIT (high intensity training) with whatever videos I found on YouTube. These were super quick but intense meaning I shed more calories than a normal work out.
2. cut down on meat
Ditching the meat for vegetables will not only save you a ton of money, it will also help you cut your calories down!
Eating vegetables is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. They are jam packed with essential minerals, vitamins, nutrients and good fats. Vegetables also have zero cholesterol!
Vegetables are great for the dieter as many are high in fiber which keeps you fuller for longer meaning you’re much less likely to reach for the snack cupboard.
Many vegetables are also excellent for blood sugar levels in that they tend to release energy over a slower period so you don’t spike and suddenly crash.
Vegetables are super versatile and can be used for all manner of dishes such as soups, in pasta, roasted and in smoothies.
Veggies are also generally cheaper than meat.
Here’s a few of my faves for weight loss:-
- Sweet potato
💡 Do not ignore frozen veggies as they are just as nutritious as fresh ones!
3. drink more water
Water is probably the best liquid you can put into your body.
Forget the energy and power drinks, which can be full of sugar and other unwanted additives.
Water is the still the original and best thing to drink!
Drinking more of it comes with a host of benefits:-
- It helps boost skin health
- It helps boost mental clarity
- It flushes body waste
- It help maintain your blood pressure
- It lubricates the joints
The best thing is, it’s as cheap as chips!
why i love water
I used to snack a lot!
Like every 30 minutes.
Was I just greedy? Did I have an eating disorder?
Surprisingly the answer was neither of these. It was simply that I wasn’t drinking enough water in the day.
The issue was that my brain was telling me I was thirsty but I interpreted that as hunger. A common problem!
When I started to drink more water, my hunger pangs reduced dramatically.
So keep hydrated and swerve those snack temptations!
4. buy in bulk
One of the cheapest and efficient ways to adopt a healthy weight loss diet is to buy in bulk.
Buying in bulk helps with that as it allows you to plan your meals and use up what you have!
Not only that but buying in bulk generally means that you’ll make bigger savings than if you buy smaller packets of foods.
The last thing you want to be doing is visiting the grocery store every five minutes. This will just use up your time. Not good for someone on a busy schedule.
things i buy in bulk
I buy in bulk a lot. Things like:-
- Brown rice
- Tinned beans and vegetables
- Frozen chicken breasts
💡 Waste is a massive bugbear of mine and I have helped defeat it by freezing a lot more! This will save you hundreds of dollars in a year!
5. eat breakfast
Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day!
A filling nutritious breakfast is the ace in the hole for your weight loss program.
Eating and not skipping breakfast has been shown to have numerous health benefits:-
- It will jump start your metabolism for the day
- Breakfast eaters generally have lower BMI’s than breakfast skippers (especially those who eat cereal)
- You are much less likely to head for that mid morning snack
- People who eat breakfast tend to have smaller lunches thereby reducing calorie intake
what to eat for breakfast
Here’s some of my faves:-
- Cereal (especially oatmeal porridge)
- Rye bread with avocado
- Eggs on wholemeal toast
- Greek yogurt with berries
Related post: 8 Breakfast Foods for Weight Loss
6. cut your portion sizes
People in the western world (especially Americans) eat way too much food. An unnatural amount.
If you’re just starting your weight loss journey, chances are you are too.
Have you ever wondered why Asian people tend to have much lower levels of obesity than those in the west?
One of the reasons is that they tend to eat smaller meals. The effect of this is obvious – less calories and less weight.
One line of thought is that eating less will only result in your paying off that “calorie deficit” later in the day by snacking.
However, studies have shown that this isn’t actually the case.
So cut your portion sizes down. You probably do not need to eat as much as you are!
Not only will you drop calories and, in turn, weight but you’ll also save money on your grocery bill as well.
how i cut my portion sizes
This is what I did:-
- Never bought anything in large and went for the regular or small option
- Skipped the starter and desert when eating out
- Saved leftovers for the next day
- Weighed out my portions with weight scales when prepping food
7. get enough sleep
Did you know that one in three Americans don’t get enough sleep?
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your body! A lack of it has been linked to numerous health issues including:-
- Heart disease
Not only is sleep amazing for health, but it’s absolutely free.
You might think “but I have’t got time to sleep with my business schedule”.
This is foolhardy and shortsighted!
Sufficient sleep is essential for boosting cognitive function. Yes, sleep might be an inconvenience but if you’re adequately rested, you’ll be much more efficient and will save a lot more time in the long run.
Adequate sleep has also been linked to weight loss!
Without proper sleep we produce more cortisol which in turn makes us more hungry and likelier to head for the sweet cupboard. Not good!
How I improved my sleep
This is what I did:-
- Stuck to a sleep schedule where I went to bed and arose from bed at the same time each day
- Used the bedroom for two things – sleep and sex
- Made an effort to relax an hour before bedtime – i.e. read a book, listened to music, took a bath etc…
- Stopped looking at my smart phone and TV 30 minutes before bed. Bright blue lights can play havoc with our circadian rhythm (your sleep clock)
So hit the hay that bit earlier and watch the weight drop off.
8. skip the shortcut
I bet there are countless examples each week where you could add a little more exercise to your busy schedule and not even notice.
You’d be surprised how little changes in your routine can make a big difference to the amount of physical activity you do!
If you spend just 10 minutes extra a day, for example by walking the long way around or parking a little further away from where you’re heading, you will soon increase the calories you burn.
More calories burned, more weight dropped!
what I did
This is what I did:-
- Parked further away from where I was heading
- When travelling locally, walked instead of taking the car
- Cycled to work once a week
- Took the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walked the scenic route
So be a little more active this month!
9. eat out less
Eating out can be one of the worse things to do for your health and your wallet!
Restaurant food is not only expensive (because the owners have to make a profit) but it’s generally a lot less healthy as well.
Restaurant food is usually higher in calories, more salty and less fresh!
Moreover, you’re much more likely to overeat in a restaurant then when at home as you have less control over portion sizes.
In terms of your wallet, the average American spends around $3000 a year dining out. You do not need to spend that amount of money to be well fed!
do this instead
This is what you can do:-
- Take a packed lunch to work
- Restrict eating out to once a week
- Cook meals in bulk so they’re just as convenient as eating out
- Allocate food to each day of the week to fight off the temptation to eat out. This helps as you’ll instinctively try and avoid wasting the food item(s) you had allocated to that day
My firm view is that achieving your weight loss goals does not have to be expensive or inconvenient!
Losing weight can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be!
If you want to lose weight on a budget and busy schedule, the real key is not the money you’re prepared to spend but the motivation and dedication you are prepared to put in to getting there.
PIN IT FOR LATER:-
About the author
Catherine holds a bachelor of science degree and is a registered mental health nurse.
She is a self-confessed health and fitness freak, nutrition fanatic and mental health boffin.