I'm on a tight budget too, and these are all really good suggestions. How I work it with food buying is to stock up on the expensive stuff like proteins -- poultry, lean beef, lean pork, fish, cheese, etc -- when I have money (so about once a month) and then freeze portions so I can take them out as needed. I buy a bag of chicken breasts, the less expensive cuts of meat like top round (for beef), small boneless chops for pork, steelhead trout (tastes and looks like salmon). I find that the portions for these cuts are much smaller than say with a sirloin steak. Extra lean ground beef, pork, chicken and turkey also work well for cooking up patties, meatloaves, etc.
I then fill in the the rest of the month with fresh and frozen vegetables, which are much cheaper to pick up as I need them. I use a lot of egg whites to supplement the protein. I get most of my carbs from the veggies and fruits, stuff like yams, sweet potatoes, turnips, etc. I love, love, love starchy stuff like bread, pasta, potatoes. So much so that I can't keep them in the house because I will devour them. So I buy little things like multi-grain tortillas or multi-grain/whole wheat english muffins for breakfast sandwiches and for wraps. Beans and other legumes are good for protein and fibre, keep me full. I use canned beans because I'm impatient, lol.
Watch for sales. Stock up on canned and frozen stuff when you can. Buy only what you can afford and use that, rather than have a bunch of stuff go bad. Learn to cook, even if it's only eggs. Oh, and this is very important: Buy and use a food scale to weight/measure your food. It doesn't have to be an expensive scale (I use a simple plastic dial-face dealie thing), but it will help to teach you what a portion of a particular food looks like.
Exercise: walking. I have a bicycle, so I use that. The free weights that someone suggested are great too. You can also use soup cans or heavy books to lift. If you get RealPlayer you can download YouTube videos to your computer, and that's where I get my workouts. I bought some resistence bands at my local TJ Maxx and have been using those. If you live in a safe neighbourhood, you can try your local playground and do bench step-ups, pull ups, jump rope, all the stuff you did when you a kid.
I don't buy a lot of pre-prepared food. I've had to learn to plan my meals and to cook a head of time. I started with a copy of the Sought Beach diet, which I got at my local Goodwill. Southbeach prepared foods are not available in Canada (where I live), and the ingredients for the recipes in the book are expensive! So I just try to follow the recommended foods. Most of dieting is trial and error. If you stick with it, eventually you learn what works for you. Your local library will also have lots of books on nutrition and diet.
Oh, and use Fitday, every day. More if you have to. It will work if you use it.
I forgot to mention that many communities have programs where low-income families and individuals have reduced fees or waived fees at various recreation centres. The YMCA in my city offer sliding scale fees for people who apply and fall under a certain income level. The municipal government in my city offers free admission to swimming pools, work-out facilities, etc, for city-run facilities to low-income people. They don't always have the most deluxe facilities, but it's worth checking out as an alternative to joining a commercial gym. Perhaps there are similar options in your community.
All the best on your weight loss journey. You can do it! You deserve it!
I don't buy a lot of pre-prepared food. I've had to learn to plan my meals and to cook a head of time. I started with a copy of the South Beach diet, which I got at my local Goodwill.
I recommend the American Heart Association cookbook (which I got from the Library, then bought a copy at a Yard Sale) - and the planning ahead is key, it keeps you from needing to think when you are hungry. We're a little compulisve about it, the shopping list gets written with meals in mind, and the week's menu is in Excel (including "use chicken package #2 in the freezer").
As for gyms, I go to a Y with a sliding scale fee system (but, even sliding scale means you have to give up money which may well be spoken for 7 places). If you are under employed, one option is to pick up a few hours work at the desk of a gym - this usually gets you a free membership. For me, a gym is highly beneficial, and I am very happy I am able to use one, but they are far from essential as the wise people here have pointed out!
My Doctor's advice drink water before eating - fills me up!
Originally Posted by RmJ78
I was wondering if anyone has any great ideas to lose weight when you're on a tight budget? I have no funds at all spare so can't rejoin the gym. I don't buy processed foods - all fresh or frozen veg/meat so I cook properly and healthily (no fat etc). The only thing I do manage to do is walk the dog.
Has anyone got any good ideas for losing weight in these circumstances?
As my doctor told me drink water first and make sure you aren't just thirsty. Water is cheap and sometimes does the trick. Then move more - exercise. try to build in 30 minutes or more of walking and then 30 minutes of household cleaning per day. Plus some ladies from the church bike every morning - Mon thru Sat so I join them when I can for an hour of pedal biking. I have changed to more veggies, proteins of eggs, beans and tuna (cheap) instead of most meats, less fats. I go to local farmer's markets and watch for sales.I have notice and seems to be gas for transportation has gone up, most items have gone up 20-50 cents or more since January 2011. My $90 a month food budget just doesn't go as far as it used to! The other thing that helps is my weightwatcher's cookbook. They have some shopping lists in them. I can usually skip a few of the expensive items - anything more than $2 per serving. Hope that helps! C Marie
Check out Dr. Oz's website. You can get a cheap pedometer, seriously, at the dollar store.
Getting in 10,000 steps takes some work and some long walks, which I happen to love. For me, a thirty minute walk is a bit over 7000 steps. I literally march in front of the tv to finish off the number.
Totally hear you. I'm surviving off the odd freelance gig for now, while I look for a steady job.
Seconding running, DVDs, and home workouts.(Here's a link to ones I do... they're mostly butt/thigh oriented though. This one's good too.) Once or twice a week I treat myself to a swim at the community centre (swimming is priced lower than regular gym entry where I am, thankfully!). Also agree that jumping rope is great cardio. And I keep pimping this yoga site, because it's awesome.
There's an active forum that reviews fitness DVDs. (But also, Amazon, obviously.)
Can't see the thread from this reply page, but you can get things like weights and even bikes from Freecycle and Craigslist, though yup can vouch that weights are cheap @ Walmart. Personally, I'd invest in a yoga mat, too... those things are porous...
It's completely possible - even, arguably, desirable - to lose weight without having to go to a gym. You can wear whatever you want; no worries about catching weird fungal infections; no obnoxious gym hounds; no time/gas spent getting there and back. It's just important to commit to doing something most days, because there's no change in atmosphere to cue you into working out, and that means thinking carefully about what time suits you best. (For me it's evenings.)
On food - I'm working towards thinking about meals as mostly veg with a bit of meat, like they did in the 30s. (I love meat and get sort of cranky if I don't have any at all... but wish that weren't true.) Stews and soups with little bits of meat in 'em are great. Also, you can get slightly cheaper cuts of meat and braise them, or use 24-hour marinades to soften and flavour the flesh. Or get a nicer cut of beef and use it for a few days - roast -> sandwich -> taco filling/omelette enhancer. Edit: I see alamomall's doing the same!
Finally, re veg, keep menus simple. Variety matters over the medium haul, not over the course of a single meal. You don't need a million things in a salad (or omelette, for that matter) - get romaine if that's on sale, and maybe a purple onion for flavour. Later in the week, go for spinach and watercress. Boring fruits are usually cheaper (apples, oranges, bananas) - save berries and things for sales as well.
I love the idea of a garden!
Goal - 135 lbs
April 2011 - 145 lbs
August 2010 - 178 lbs
C25k, DVDs, swimming
Last edited by pinenutcasserole; 04-20-2011 at 05:51 AM.
You could take on a personal war against food waste. Americans are in the habit of wasting 30-40% of the food they purchase! Spoilage due to poor planning or storing food improperly are some of the major causes.
If you don't have a freezer, don't cook too much at a time.
When buying veggies learn how to store each different kind and do not over-buy even when on sale. For example, summer squash like zucchini store very well out of the refrigerator and so do tomatoes but don't leave them in a bag as that will make them rot quickly. Greens, and herbs like parsley and cilantro store better if dry and have a few paper towels around them in the bag. Moisture will spoil those too. Cabbages and root veggies like turnips, parsnips and carrots are great stored in the fridge and will store a long time if not too damp. Potatoes need to be stored in a dark place so they will not turn green (never eat a green potato as it is toxic). A brown paper bag works great for this.
Freezers work great but frost free freezers will ruin veggies very fast so be careful there. If you store cooked beans make sure they are frozen in liquid as that will keep them much longer.
Cook legumes from dried sources whenever possible but a few cans in the pantry don't hurt either. Soak them,changing water at least twice in 24 hours or more. Sprouting them is pretty easy too and you don't need fancy sprouters to do that. I just soak for a day, dump in a colander, put it on a plate and rinse at least twice a day. They will be much more digestible, more nutritious and will be super special.
If you buy organic, think about what is important to buy organic, such as leafy greens and not so much legumes which are encased in a pod or peeled.
Of course buy staples in bulk is great too but don't overdo that either because staples can get old and rancid over time and high temps. Whole grains and whole grain flour go bad faster because of the natural oils so freezing them is great or not buying too much at once.
Always eat leftovers even if it is for breakfast and it is not your preference.
Go to the store a couple times in the week to buy dairy, and fresh foods. In Europe people shop daily because they don't take food so much for granted and have smaller kitchens.
Eating out is hugely expensive. Avoid it as much as possible. Your weight loss will be better and so will your health. If you are with friends you can order herb tea and still be social.
If you have a diet buddy you could share some food back and forth if you cook up a bunch like a large pot of beans. This is fun and motivating.
A high speed blender is a good investment. They are expensive but can pay for themselves if used for juicing and grinding and making smoothies. I bought a Blendtec on special because it was a demo used a few times and this brand does not require a special carafe for grinding grains and beans. It was difficult for me to get the money up to do so but I am glad I was finally able to. Always research before you buy any big ticket appliance as some of the cheaper brands are known to burn out fast.
Get your priorities straight. Is your health more important than entertainment or the latest fashion fad? You are the one in control of that.