Getting fit and healthy doesn’t have to be an inconvenient process that costs a lot of money. I know this might be hard to believe, but your bank account could benefit from the pursuit of health and fitness. To lose weight and feel great on any budget, implement one of these healthy habits to save time and money.
1. Keep a water bottle at your office desk.
If you work a job that requires you to sit at a desk most of the time, then it’s probably not easy to sneak away for a sip of water when you need it. Buy a reusable water bottle and keep it at your desk to make sure you stay hydrated during the day. Add ice if room-temperature water grosses you out, and feel free to chop up some chunks of your favorite fruit to improve the taste. To make sure you remember to drink it, simply take a few sips every hour on the hour, and re-fill as necessary.
2. Brew healthy (and delicious) coffee at home.
Great news for coffee-hounds: research shows that coffee does not dehydrate you as frequently claimed. In fact, a cup of coffee counts towards your fluid needs just as much as a cup of water does. Before you get too excited, I’m NOT suggesting that it’s okay to drown your coffee in sugar and artificially flavored creamers. Opt for a healthier (and tastier!) alternative like cinnamon, cocoa, honey, or vanilla. You’re welcome to mix-and-match those spices until you discover your perfect recipe; and if you find yourself craving those sugary creamers, adding a splash of milk might help you satisfy your taste-buds.
3. Reserve restaurant visits for special occasions.
According to the University of Rochester, the average American eats out more than four times per week. Spending $10-20 at a restaurant might not seem like a big deal when you do it, but those costs can add up in a hurry. If you doubt me, pull up a history of your recent credit card or checking account transactions. Figure out how much you’ve spent on restaurant visits in the last month (don’t forget to include those Starbucks trips and bar tabs!). While there is nothing wrong with treating yourself, you have to make sacrifices if you want a better body. You could make things interesting by clipping coupons for area restaurants, collecting them all in a jar or envelope, and having a random drawing every week to determine where you go.
4. If you’re going to eat out, split a dish with a friend.
Portion sizes in restaurants have more than doubled in the last twenty years, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Consider that fact along with the rise of sedentary lifestyles, and it should come as no surprise that America’s obesity rate has climbed at a similar rate: 11.6% in 1994, versus 27.7% today. Since overeating is easier than ever in our “Supersize everything!” landscape (and you’re probably eating past the point of fullness anyway as I discussed in last week’s post), why not ask your waiter or waitress to split a dish in half so you can share it with your partner or friend? You’ll avoid that terrible bellyache you usually have after dinner, cut your bill in half, and lose weight (what a deal!).
5. Plan your meals before you go to the grocery store.
The average American family of four throws away between $1,365 and $2,275 worth of groceries every year. The National Resource Defense Center suggests that a lack of preparation could cause families to buy more than they need. To avoid wasting so much money, make a list of everything you plan to cook for the next week before going to the grocery store. Include all of the ingredients called for in your recipe, plus a reasonable estimation of portion-sizes. If it’s not on the list, don’t even think about putting it in your shopping cart.
I intended to compile all ten healthy habits in one post but the first five ended up being a lot of information to digest so I have decided to turn this into a two-part series. I will share habits six through ten next Monday.
You might have noticed that I suggested choosing one healthy habit to start with in the opening paragraph. I said that for a very important reason: it is best to concentrate on one thing at a time because bad habits are NOT easy to break. You don’t need to go through these habits in any particular order but I would suggest starting with one that sounds simple. Getting the easy stuff out of the way will give you the confidence you need to succeed when you tackle the more difficult ones. Focus on a single habit for a week and if you manage to stick with it for 75% of the time then you can add another the following week. If not, don’t stress out. Ask yourself, “Why didn’t this work?” and try again.
For more healthy, money saving habits, please read the second half of this post: Healthy Habits That Will Help Save You Time and Money – Part II. Thanks for reading!
About the Author
Daniel Wallen is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of the Wallen Way. He is a personal trainer, Lifehack contributor, and author of, “The Busy Woman’s Guide to Getting Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous.”