Thursday, 13 November 2014

5 Tips to Being Fit While Budgeting

I'll be the first to admit that I am not the thinnest person in the world but I have lost over 50 lbs and continue on my weight loss journey, one that has taken a longggggg time. Although I don't have a sexy bikini body, I am pretty fit because I exercise almost every day, and really make an effort to eat well. The food part is definitely the most difficult for me! Mostly because I love to eat so cutting calories and focusing on eating whole foods is not my strong suit.

A few months back, I remember seeing a post on Facebook from a woman who said she had no choice but to be obese because she was poor and healthy food cost too much, and gym memberships were too expensive. There is SOME truth to the food aspect. Eating lots of fruits and veggies every day does add up but there are some ways to get around that which I'll talk about in a moment. But when it comes to exercise, there is NO excuse. I exercise every single day without using a gym membership or fancy equipment at home.

Here's how to be fit physically and financially:

1. Not all fruits and veggies have to be expensive

When we go grocery shopping, we try not to purchase much in the way of processed foods. Don't get me wrong, we still buy some, but not much. My kids tend to gravitate towards fruit and even raw veggies - mostly because we don't have much in the way of sugary snacks in our house so they have no choice. But this can get pretty expensive when they are cruising through a bag of apples in a few days. But there are other alternatives that can stretch your fruit and veggie budget. I buy frozen peas and corn when they are $1-$2 a bag. This lasts us probably for four meals. Same goes with frozen fruit. It can be a bit expensive but if you catch them on sale, they are great in a smoothie with yogurt and milk. Canned fruits and veggies aren't as nutritious as frozen or fresh just because they can contain a lot of salt and sugar, but look for products that contain no salt or added sugar if you can. This is still better than eating McDonalds, or eating KD every day. Which by the way, I still love KD.

2. Grow a garden or participate in a community garden program

Seeds are dirt cheap - pardon the pun. So throw those puppies in some soil and watch as you grow your own bounty. If you feel intimidated by gardening (which you shouldn't because it's pretty fool-proof) watch a video online or take a gardening book out from your library. And get your kids involved in the process. Learning how to grow food is such a great skill to have. I'm very fortunate my family had acres of gardens when I was growing up, and I had with them every summer. Now my kids are learning from me. Pass on the knowledge!

3. Canning and freezing

The other day I got a HUGE box of crab apples from someone in our community for $5! I talk about it in this post. I was able to freeze 6 bags of apples and make 12 jars of apple sauce - and it was sooo good! Again there are so many resources online for freezing and preserving fruits and vegetables. If you see a great fruit/veggie sale, buy 'em up and freeze them.

4. Bake your own bread

I admit, this sounds like a lot of work. Everyone is probably thinking, "this woman must have a lot of time on her hands to be making her own bread". Um, I have no time for anything. I work, I have two kids, I workout every day, I blog and I take care of a home. I use a bread machine (which by the way, I've seen at thrift stores for just a few dollars) and I use the dough cycle to make the dough, then I form the dough into two loaves and let them rise on a cookie sheet, then I bake them. The bread machine does most of the work while I'm doing other things. This is usually a Saturday or Sunday project. For our family of 4, two loaves easily lasts us a week or more. And making your own bread is super cheap. Here is my favourite recipe - it works every time! While it's a bun recipe, it works for bread too. I also substitute half of the white flour for whole wheat flour and cut down the sugar a bit.

5. Exercise is FREE

Last time I checked, walking didn't cost much. Neither did playing soccer with your kids. But if you feel you need a "real" workout, there are so many options you can do for cheap or free. I can watch youtube on my TV and that's how I do most of my circuit training days. Jillian Michaels has a bunch of Youtube videos up through BeFit including The 30 Day Shred, No More Trouble Zones Complete Workout, and 6 Week Six-Pack Abs, just to name a few. The most these workouts require are your hand weights and those aren't even necessary. You can also rent fitness DVDs from your local library or borrow/swap with friends. When it comes down to it, nothing beats a brisk walk anyway. And the benefits of being active go so far beyond how you look. Exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy (I learned that from Elle Woods from Legally Blonde). It's hard to get moving but once you're done, what an awesome feeling!

If you have any tips on being fit and frugal, I'd love to hear them. I hope to include a lot of this information in a book, so the more information I can share, the better!

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