By Kelly Smith – Freedom In A Budget
Getting healthy and losing weight are a top goal for many Americans, but doing it on a budget is always a big concern. Processed foods can be cheaper than healthy fruits and vegetables so it is understandable why so many Americans put eating healthy on the back burner or simply can’t afford to lose weight.
Before we jump into different tips about how to lose weight on a budget I want to address a very important WHY first. We must not forget that our bodies are God’s temple and we only get one, so it is very important that we take care of the body God has given us and is doing his work through.
Let’s take a look at 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
We should honor God by the way we take care of our bodies, but we don’t have to go it alone. He has promised to help and strengthen those who trust in Him as we see in Isaiah 41:10; “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
How do I get started?
Get up and move! Staying active is an important part of weight management. Joining an expensive gym isn’t the only way to stay active. Find a local park with a walking path near you, join a church softball league, take the stairs at work, play Frisbee with your kids, or go to the local park for exercise.
I’ve personally noticed that I get out of breath when I bring the kids to the park and am actively playing with them rather than just sitting on the bench and watching them from afar. Those calories burned add up quickly.
How can my mental state affect weight loss?
Minimizing anxiety can greatly affect your weight loss efforts. Stress eating and binge eating can easily become very unhealthy habits that lead to weight gain and numerous other health concerns. Instead of going right to eating when stressed or anxious, try praying and spending some time in the Word.
Make it a habit to first seek Christ in times of stress rather than food. Philippians 4:6, 7 tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
How can I cut costs on my grocery bill?
Cutting down your grocery bill can be very challenging, especially while you are trying to lose weight. However, there are several easy changes you can make that will drastically show in your monthly budget:
- Save money by having a meatless meal once a week. Make it something fun and something to look forward to like “Meatless Mondays.” I grew up with every single dinner having a starch, meat, and two veggies, but it doesn’t have to be like that! Meatless Monday or breakfast for dinner are perfectly acceptable dinners.
- Shop your pantry. Before you make your meal plan, look through your cupboards, fridge, and freezer to see what ingredients you already have on hand that can be worked into that grocery list. At the end of the week, see what ingredients you have left and find a meal plan that will include those items so that you have zero waste.
- Only go to the grocery store once a week! Each time you go you are more likely to add impulse purchases to your cart. Three impulse purchases each trip can add up FAST and can cause you to go over budget. This may mean leaving the spouse or children at home!
My final, and perhaps most important, tip is to find accountability! Whether it’s your spouse, best friend, or coworker, find someone who will be your accountability partner. Keep each other accountable in working out, tracking your foods, and staying on budget. If I personally know that someone is going to be asking me if I worked out last night, I am a lot more likely to do it. When friends ask me to grab lunch to catch up I always request that we go to a park and walk instead. Not only does it save money by not eating out, it also helps us both get some fresh air and a low impact workout in.
What are your tips for weight loss on a budget? Share in the comments!
Kelly Smith is a personal finance expert living in sunny Florida. She helps people of all ages achieve financial freedom within their budget and become intentional with their money, largely through her YouTube channel: YouTube.com/FreedomInABudget.