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Lots of people think that getting healthy or living a healthier lifestyle requires a lot of money. That is just not true. I do not feel that it takes a ton of money to follow a healthy diet and exercise. It may take some planning and resources, but I don’t want anyone to think that being a healthier version of themselves will cost thousands. It just isn’t true. Healthy living on a budget is possible.
I worked as a Physician Assistant in Cardiology for a little over 6 and a half years. I loved it. I had the opportunity to see several people change their lives on their own without much help as they realized that they needed to take control of their health. One common complaint I got from patient’s when discussing weight and healthy living was the expense. I assure you that there is not a cheap diet plan that will fit everyone’s needs, however, if you eat well and exercise, you will be healthier.
I agree that following a healthy diet is more expensive than some convenience food, however, when you look at the ingredients in those types of foods and you look at the effects that those particular types of foods have on your long term health, is it really worth eating them?
When you factor in the cost of chronic illness against the cost of healthy living, I guarantee you that eating healthy on a budget is much cheaper than paying co-pays to go to the doctor or paying for procedures to be done.
I talk about freedom in this blog and I know so many people are suffering with the thoughts of wanting to change their overall health in one way or another. Some want to lose weight, some want to just have control over their eating or control over their schedule to fit exercise in on a regular basis. I am here to tell you it is possible. It is possible to have everything you want if you create a plan to get what you want.
I know our lives are incredibly busy, but if we don’t take the time to control our habits, our health will start to suffer.
Ok, I will get off my soap box and get to back to the tips for healthy living on a budget.
I want to give you practical steps you can take today to change your health and have freedom in knowing that you can take control of your health for good. Just like anything else, it takes work on your part but you don’t have to do everything all at once. Take manageable steps toward whatever it is you want to change and you will be on the right track to healthy living.
Healthy living on a budget. Here are some tips to help:
- Plan your meals. This sounds hard, but really it isn’t too terrible. Once you take control of your food and eating schedule it becomes habit and you start working on auto pilot for choosing healthy food. I bet that after 2 weeks of eating healthier, you will notice a difference in your energy, mental clarity and you will feel better about yourself because of the food choices you are making.
There are a few sites that can help with this if you hate meal planning or find it cumbersome. If you just need some new ideas, these may help also. If you frequently eat out, eating at home will save you money. If you like to plan meals but just need a little help, Organize Yourself Skinny has an eBook with great ways to plan your meals ahead of time. She has tons of healthy recipes on her site that I love also. I have personally used her eBook and it has helped me stay organized with planning my meals and save money and not waste food. There is also a website called $5 Meal Plan which is a site that can help with meal planning. They email you a menu plan every week that includes a shopping list. I just started using them and I love it! I modify the recipes a bit for Logan but overall I have been very happy with them! You can start your 2 week free trial by clicking here.
- Exercise isn’t expensive. You don’t need to join a gym to exercise although there are ways to save at the gym if you feel you are better at sticking to an exercise schedule at the gym. At home, you can totally walk around your neighborhood, pick up something like running, do exercise videos from YouTube, or check out Pinterest for workouts and challenges. There are tons of ideas. Don’t think you have to go to the gym.
- Have an accountability partner or join a group. Is there anyone else in your community who is looking to get healthy or exercise more often? Ask them to be your accountability partner. Ask your spouse or a close friend to check on you once a week to see how you are doing with sticking to your goals. There are also tons of Facebook groups you can join. Search for Weight Loss groups or Healthy eating groups and you will find tons you can join for accountability.
- There are tons of free Apps you can download to jumpstart your healthy living goals. My Fitness Pal is popular. The other one that I like is the Couch to the 5K if you are interested in running. I have personally used that App before and I really liked it. It felt very manageable to work up to running a 5K and it is totally free. Before using that app, I couldn’t even run a mile comfortably. After using it, I was able to complete several 5k runs which I really enjoyed. One I absolutely love is Ibotta. Ibotta is a free app to help you save money on groceries and products you use daily. When you sign up using my link, you will get $10 to start off.
- Write down your goals where you can see them. Writing down your goals and taking it a step further and writing down your action plan will help you stay focused and you will be successful. If you create an action plan of how you are going to go about improving your health and you stick it somewhere you can see it, this will greatly improve your likelihood of healthy living success.
- Take action once you have a plan. Once you have drafted a plan on how you are going to meet your healthy living goals, just start. Start immediately before your brain has a chance to think about it. No matter how much you don’t want to do something, do it anyway for 30 days. Once you make a habit of healthy eating and exercising, it becomes easier. I say 30 days because that is the popular, researched answer.
- Think about healthier options to cheat food. I went over this when I was doing my healthy eating challenges at my Cardiology job. What food do you love to eat that maybe isn’t great for you? Ice cream, pizza, donuts? Think about these foods, write them down, then go look for healthier recipes. When you feel like you need to cheat or eat one of these foods, eat the healthier version. You still feel like you cheat but in reality, you saved yourself some calories. It is a win win situation. You get what you want but still feel like you cheated. A perfect example for me… I like ice cream. We make banana ice cream at home whenever we have rotten bananas. I add a little peanut butter and it tastes amazing. I feel like I am cheating but in reality, it isn’t that bad of a choice.
- Keep a food diary. You can track what you are eating with My Fitness Pal or you can just keep a plain old written out food diary. It really doesn’t matter. If you are trying to eat better, this is a way to keep you accountable to what you put in your body. Tammy from Organize Yourself Skinny said it keeping a diary of her food intake was the single best thing she did when she was trying to lose weight. You can read more about her weight loss story in her eBook.
There are so many things you can do to improve your health that are free or even very cheap. This is the best way that I can think of to go over what healthy living on a budget looks like. Don’t overcomplicate the process. Eating well and exercise just makes sense for overall healthy living. It is manageable and sustainable if you retrain your brain and your habits.
If you have a health goal you are trying to achieve, create a framework of how you are going to go about achieving your goal. Once you have a written out plan, take action. I personally think it is essential to plan out your food as it will make it so much more likely that you will eat what you have available.
Exercise does not have to be expensive either. There are tons of ways to find workouts for very cheap or free. Check Pinterest for work out challenges, borrow a workout video from a friend, go walking or start running. If you really want to challenge yourself, sign up for a 5K or a challenge to hold yourself accountable to that upcoming challenge.
Find out what motivates you and just get started. The hardest part in achieving anything is just starting. It may feel uncomfortable at first to adopt new healthy habits, but once you have made them habits for awhile, it does get easier. The best cheap diet plan I can think of is coming up with a plan you can stick to that involves lots of healthy food and more movement. Good Luck!
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