Losing Weight on a Budget

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There is one way to lose weight: Burn more calories than you take in. Sounds simple, right? We know it’s not! As a frugal mom struggling to lose weight, you may think the only solution is to blow the food budget on those high-priced supplements, diet foods or pre-packaged meals that the “experts” swear by. But that’s simply not necessary! You can lose weight without it costing a fortune by learning some simple strategies to help you rethink your diet and exercise regime.

• Become more active. This one step will help you tremendously when you’re trying to lose weight. You’ll not only burn more calories, but you’ll increase your metabolism, which will make your body more efficient at burning calories. That, in turn, will help you burn more calories and burn them longer. Can’t beat a deal like that!

If you’re looking for ways to become more active, try walking around the block after dinner, parking your car farther away from the door at Wal*Mart, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, playing Frisbee, football or soccer with the kids, joining a volleyball or softball team, going for a hike, rollerblading, cleaning house, and even enjoying active sex! Anything you do to move more and eat less will add to your weight loss success.

• No need to join a gym when there are so many free and low-cost exercise options available. You can walk, ride a bike, jump rope, run in place, dance to the oldies, or workout with an exercise video. While you definitely need to work out at least three times a week, you can do so for no cost whatsoever except your time. And have a lot of fun doing it!

• If you’re more apt to exercise with others, try a church aerobics class, or ask a friend or neighbor to walk with you. You can enjoy the fellowship of others with the same interest in losing weight and getting healthy while meeting your own goal of adding exercise to your weekly routine.

• Hide your frying pan. Eliminating fried foods will go a long way toward cutting calories, which is key to losing weight. Learn to broil, bake or grill your food instead and get rid of hundreds of added calories every week.

• Eat less. While this seems like a simple solution, anyone who struggles with her weight knows that it’s a lot easier said than done. But disciplining yourself to eat only when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, and avoid between meal snacks will make a huge difference in your weight loss success.

• Eat more vegetables. Many vegetables such as broccoli, green peppers, cucumbers, etc. are considered “free” foods so you can eat as much as you want without adding calories. And if you grow your own, these free foods become truly free–in more ways than one!

• Learn what triggers your eating. Pay attention to when you eat the most. Is it when you’re bored? Lonely? Angry? Are you seeking comfort or consolation through food? By learning what makes you eat when you do, you can learn to find alternative methods for dealing with your emotions and stop sabotaging your weight loss efforts at the same time.

• Change your attitude toward food, if necessary. Let the adage, “eat to live, not live to eat” become your mantra. Eat when your body needs fuel. Never for any other reason.

• When eating out, share a meal with someone else. This will allow you to eat out for half price and will cut your calories considerably. And since restaurants always give larger portions than we need, you’ll more than likely still go away feeling completely full and satisfied.

• Don’t bother with diet foods. Not only are they higher priced than their regular counterparts, but research shows that artificial sweeteners aren’t good for us. Instead, learn to enjoy the regular foods you love–only in smaller portions.

There are many ways you can lose weight without spending any more money than you spend right now on food. Choose the ones that will work for you… your pocketbook and your waistline will benefit!

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