Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thrifty Weight Loss

You always hear about people with hefty gym memberships at the beginning of the year and usually by the end of summer, they are no longer going to the gym and that expensive membership has gone to waste.  Or your neighbor or friend gets that sweet piece of equipment at their house and again, it goes to waste and is used to hang laundry.  If you have beat that cycle, God bless you!!!  Because of our one income, we can't afford a gym membership and we have discussed an expensive piece of gym equipment, but we don't want it to fall into the overpriced laundry holder category. 

I'm one of those people who really has to watch her weight.  I've birthed four children and 40 is just on the horizon for me.  Fortunately, all my life, I've been fairly active so I can say that I know my body pretty well.  I know exactly what I have to do and what I need to eat and what kind of exercises I need to do.  From January to June, I lost 25 pounds for our big trip to Florida.  I took a two month break and now I've started up my regimen again so I can get rid of a final 15 more pounds.  So how can you lose weight in a thrifty manner?  Here are some of the strategies I used to get the weight off without breaking the bank that I hope will help you as well.
  1. First and foremost, the fat you have to get rid of first is in your head!  Stinkin' thinkin' has to go away.  You need to gear up mentally for what you are about to do and commit to it with all your mind.  You have to break old habits and establish new ones.  It takes me a couple of weeks to do this before I actually start working out.  I start drinking more water and start scheduling my days so I can fit a workout in.  Do you need motivation?  Go to the store and try on a nice dress.  Don't like what you see?  Now you have fuel for your fire.  It doesn't matter how much money you spend or what equipment you have or how great a trainer is...if you can't get past your mental blocks, you won't lose weight.  Do what you need to do to get mentally ready...establish new habits, journal what you're doing and what you're feeling, etc...
  2. If it's been ages since you've exercised, go to the doctor. 
  3. Start walking.  If you work all day, take a walk at lunch and eat a light lunch afterwards.  Get your body used to moving.  Hello, walking is free!
  4. If you're past that and need more, here's what I did.  Exercise dvds.  I know some of you are balking already.  I'm pretty particular when it comes to exercise dvds.  First of all, I have to like the personality of the trainer.  If I don't like the person, I can't get a good workout.  Also, I have to like the people who are doing the exercises along with the trainer.  Gorgeous supermodel types with a size 0 body and plastic smile doesn't really cut it for me.  My kids and I watch Biggest Loser every season and Jillian is by far my favorite and she has exercise dvds along with Biggest Loser dvds.  These dvds only cost $10 and you get a lot of bang for your buck.  There are usually three different levels and the more fit you get, the higher the level you can do.  Plus, you have real people exercising who really do need to lose weight and are doing something about it.  The only other equipment you need for these dvds are light handweights and an exercise mat if you don't have carpeting.
  5. Of course, you'll say, "but I get bored."  So do I!!!  So I have at least five dvds and can do different ones during the week.  Once you do these for a few months, you can move on to the next level. 
  6. Start a walking/jogging/running regimen.  Again, you're outside and it's free!!!  Do two miles or try to work up to it.  Walk a block, jog a block, walk a block.  The more you do this the easier it will become.  That first step is always the hardest.  That's why you have to get your brain on board to push your body.  YOU CAN DO IT!!!  The only real expense you'll have is good running shoes.  You could also get a good cross-trainer pair and use it for everything.  Do not skimp on your shoes.
  7. Make some goals that are reasonable.  Weigh yourself at the beginning and then I would really wait to weigh yourself again after two weeks.  Don't let that be your obsession.  Your hard work will pay off and it will take time.
  8. Now the question of nutrition:  how do you keep this thrifty???  I did not buy supplements or fancy smancy shakes or any of that stuff.  Buying fast food, pre-packaged food, fried foods, packaged snacks...all that costs more money than buying food in it's natural state and cooking from yourself the money.  Don't buy all that junk.  I made sure I ate good, healthy food.  I drastically lowered my fat intake, totally increased my fiber, watched my carbs, and most importantly, I had a few snacks throughout the day.  Eat a hand full of nuts or an apple or some carrots.  Some of these diets just go crazy on a precise measurement of this, that, and the other.  Use common sense.  Your body will also tell you when you get hungry.  Does that mean you need to eat five pounds of food? No. Eat a few nuts or a yogurt and really observe how your body reacts.  That hungry sensation will leave.  It really won't take much to satisfy you.
  9. Reward yourself.  Set up some rewards.  Maybe after your first ten pounds you can get a new dvd or heavier weights or a cute outfit to workout in.  You won't have the guilt of spending the money, plus you have a visual marker of the milestone you reached!
  10. Set up a cheat meal or cheat day.  I had a cheat meal set up, especially when I first started working out, because when you start eating more stricter, that little part of you is going to feel deprived. So on my cheat meal I could eat WHATEVER I wanted.  That gives you something to look forward to mentally if you're struggling during the week.  Once you really get working out, and have done it for a few weeks or months, you will really see your progress and the cheat meal will almost become obsolete.  
  11. What if you fall off the wagon and go crazy after a weekend of splurging???  Get over your bad self and continue where you left off.  No one is perfect and we all struggle!!! The point is to keep pressing on.  Don't feel guilty and get all dejected over it.  Just keep going...we all have times when we have celebrations and eat like pigs...hello, holidays are coming.  Just keep pressing on!
I hope this helps anyone who is starting out.  It's still a bit general, but know that you can do it.  I have to tell this to myself all the time.  It's about my health and being a fit woman, wife, and mother.  Taking control of this area of your life will spill out to every other area.  If anything, you'll feel so good and can wear thinner clothes and keep up with your kids.  Lately I've been so exhausted and I know my body really needs the exercise!!!  Good luck to you!  Remember, you don't have to spend a fortune to lose weight!!!!!
Happy exercising!!! 

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