We all see the commercials on tv this time of the year about losing weight and staying healthy. We all want to live a healthier life, but who wants to spend a lot of money on gimmicks that may never work anyway. Here are a few suggestions on staying healthy and not breaking the bank that I have used over the years.
I know most of you are thinking that it costs more money to stay healthier. That may be true, but over time and depending on your choices, you will pay for it in the long run. Either by living a cheaper non-heathier life by eating out, eating processed food and paying high medical bills or by paying out a little more at the beginning for wholesome foods and staying healthier with less or no medical bills.
I am by no means a health expert. But, I have learned much over the years from watching my dad have a heart attack at a very young age and then eventually having a heart transplant. I didn’t want to end up that way. So, my journey began then when I was in my early 20’s. I am now a woman over 50 at a healthy weight, strong and taking no medications.
I have stumbled over the years and learned from my mistakes, but I always seem to come back to a healthy way of eating and living.
What finally changed my look on staying healthy:
I had a health scare a few years ago because Mr. G and I both got very lazy with our eating habits and the weight piled on both of us. I wasn’t working the 9 to 5 job anymore and my workouts became less and less. I started feeling really sick and lethargic. Bad enough that I didn’t leave the house for over a month. My voice was hardly there and I just hurt around my stomach area. I don’t even want to get into what was going on with my digestive system.
After every test that could be run, many medical bills and money out of my pocket, I was told I just had heartburn and that my B12 was really low. What?!? The doctor’s solution was to take meds the rest of my life which basically gave me free reign to eat anything I wanted to eat.
NO!! I was not going to live on meds the rest of my life. I was going to change the way I was eating. Quit drinking fattening coffees, sodas, and tea full of sweeteners. I wanted to stop all the processed food. My body was taking in too many preservatives and acid and my digestive system was having no more of it.
After 2 years of watching my fat intake and processed food, I lost 40 pounds. I sleep so well at night, my bones don’t hurt anymore, I’m able to work out like I used to, my energy is back to normal and my soul is just happy!! All my blood work is back to normal and my cholesterol and blood pressure are in the normal range. I do take a probiotic and fiber powder to keep my digestive system healthy, liquid calcium to help my bones and a sublingual B12 vitamin.
Mr. G started a walking program and has dropped about 40 pounds too!
We both realized that calorie intake and portion size was a big key also in keeping our weight down. We both love to eat. There is no denying that and we both don’t want to give up the things we love to eat. We now just eat small portions of the food we love.
It is so easy to eat healthier, work out and keep your wallet happy at the same time!
Here’s how we do it
Get Up and Walk – Walking is by far the cheapest way to get a good workout. It’s easy, you can basically do it anywhere and it’s FREE. Grab a friend or the dog, because he needs to walk too and enjoy the weather and your surroundings.
Use Workout Videos – Since I live in Florida, even early mornings can be brutally hot for walks and I like to use workout videos in the comfort of my home. My favorite workouts are Leslie Samsone’s walking videos. I also use YouTube and pull up workout videos for FREE.
Join Your Local YMCA – If you still love the idea of working out at a gym, try the YMCA. Their monthly dues are really low and they also offer a wide range of classes to sign up for. I love doing Deep Water Aerobics at the pool. You can find your local YMCA here.
Start A Garden – It doesn’t matter how big or small your yard is or if you live in an apartment, you can grow something. My garden is in the picture above and I can grow kale, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, green peppers, and watermelons. Its a 4′ x 12′ raised bed. You can also grow in any container right out the front door, on your windowsill or on a balcony. There are so many different varieties of garden plants made for containers now. Such as cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs. I also have blueberry and blackberry bushes in my landscaping. They are easy to take care of and blend in naturally. Since I live in Zone 9, I also have pineapples growing next to my garden.
Use Local Farmers Markets – Learn to eat with seasonal foods. Local farmers markets are perfect for in-season vegetables and fruits and are cheaper than buying at the grocery store and when not in season. Look for your local U-Pick farms to buy in bulk to store in the freezer or if you like to can foods. Keeping your pantry and freezer stocked also helps to save money. We go every spring and pick 2 buckets full of blueberries to put in the freezer for the whole year. My blueberry bushes produce a lot but not for the whole year.
Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast – So, so important to start your day off with fiber and protein. I have learned that by not eating breakfast, I will end up eating way more than I need to during lunchtime. Rolled oatmeal and eggs have a lot of fiber and protein, plus they are cheap to make.
Shop Discount for Workout Items – When it comes to workout clothes for me, I always buy whats on sale. This time of the year you will find so many stores putting their workout items on sale. When I need new workout shoes, I go to Joes New Balance Outlet store online. They are always running sales on their shoes and other workout items. I purchased my buoyancy belt for Deep Water Aerobics class at eBay.
Look on Craigslist for Workout Equipment – Buying used workout equipment is another great way to save money. I have also found some really good items at my local Goodwill.
Drink Water – Drinking water is by far the best thing you can put in your body which is made mostly of water. Oh, my the money you will save by not stopping by Starbucks or by drinking sodas all day. You don’t need to buy water. Fill up a good 1-liter water bottle with water and drink 2 of those a day. When I started drinking only water all day, I was worried about going to the bathroom all the time. But over a few weeks, my body got used to it and now I go normally. Living in Florida, the heat pulls a lot of water out of your body and you don’t realize it. Your body depends on water to survive. I also love adding fruit to my water for a different taste by using an infuser water bottle.
Eat Out Less – There is so much fat and salt in food when we eat out and it’s so expensive. By cooking at home, you can control what goes into your meals. Cook in bulk, store in the freezer and save even more money.
Comparison Shop – I still use coupons when I shop at our major grocery store chain when items are on sale or BOGO. I also shop at Aldi’s more and more. Not only for the prices being so low but they also offer a lot of organic items now and they always seem to have a great selection of produce. I recently started using Amazon Subscribe & Save program with some non-perishable items. You can save not only your time but gas and up to 15% off your items. Many of these items will have coupons to use.
Buying in Bulk – I often do this at Sam’s or Costco and at Amazon Subscribe & Save. I love buying my meat this way. Also, look for your local farmer who sales their meat in bulk. No more middleman and you can find out his growing practices. You get the kind of meat you want and you save money. Buying 6 steaks at Sam’s will cost about $25.00. That’s $10.00 for Mr. G and me to have steak one night compared to about $40+ for us to eat out. Your local farmer also has the best organic eggs or if you have space, raise your own hens. That’s my next project.
Plan Your Meals – A few years ago, I started planning out my weekly meals before I went grocery shopping. Knowing exactly what you want to fix for meals will save you money and time. Going to the grocery store without a plan or when you are hungry will only mean you buy more than you need. I recently started using the AnyList App so that I can have my recipes available at any time. The app is also synced up with my Echo Dot so I can add items when I think of them.
Make from Scratch – I make as many items as I can from scratch to save money. My dressings, BBQ sauces, spice mixtures, smoothies, cleaning supplies, etc. are just a few. Instead of using packaged meals, I will make them from scratch. I love my homemade yogurt and it’s so easy to make. I know what’s in my homemade items and don’t have to worry about all the nasty additives and can control the fat, sugar and salt. I even make my own ice cream on special occasions with my small ice cream maker. I found a great book called The Made-from-Scratch Life: Simple Ways to Create a Natural Home for a lot of recipes to make from scratch to help live a chemical-free life.
Buy Discounted Gift Cards – I love saving money this way. I will check at Cardpool.com and Raise.com to see if they have my local store’s gift cards at discounted prices. You can save up to 20% on your next shopping trip by using your store’s gift cards.
What are your ways to save and stay healthy?
Enjoy and be healthy,
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I’m just a country girl loving my geeky life with my wonderful husband, always taking pictures, getting my hands dirty in the garden, being crafty, exploring with travels and enjoying all this on a budget. But above all, living my faith as a child of God!