This is right about the time when most people give up, if they haven’t already, on a new year’s resolution to lose weight or to start working out. If you are in this huge category of people, consider some of the important elements that go into weight loss that sticks. If you want to get off of the weight loss roller coaster, consider these important factors.
1. Exercise. Often, people begin jogging or going to a gym at the beginning of the year because activities like those seem to be synonymous with a healthy lifestyle and weight loss. But, one of the most critical factors that contributes to your consistency is whether you enjoy doing that exercise or activity. Since the key is to incorporate an activity that works your heart, strengthens your muscles, and burns calories, there is not just one exercise that can accomplish those goals. So, make sure you find one you enjoy! That will help you with what counts the most: to keep doing it!
2. Food. There’s no getting around being very thoughtful and intentional about what you eat. Exceptions need to be just that: exceptions to the norm. Some people recommend keeping a food journal. That can help quite a bit because we often don’t keep track of ALL that excess calories we take in. Keeping a food journal for a while can help you become more aware of all the little extra calories you allow yourself without even thinking about it.
3. Attitude. Another very important part of long term change is our attitude toward and understanding of the reasons for that change. What is the purpose of the weight loss in your life? Is it merely to look good? Or, do you actually want to be healthy? If you are just looking at the numbers, it’s easy to get side tracked. You can get discouraged when the scale doesn’t move; you can also get lazy if you see the numbers you like. However, if the goal is to be healthy, then there’s no stopping, regardless of what the scale tells you.
How are you doing with your new year’s weight loss goals?
As January comes to a close, it might be a good time to check in on how you’re doing with your new year’s resolutions. And, since losing weight is usually up there on our lists, I thought I’d share a few tips just in case you could use a little encouragement.
Making Healthy Choices. I believe that making healthy choices is actually a more important goal than weight loss. There are a lot of unhealthy ways to lose weight. You could suffer short or long term consequences from losing weight by making poor health choices. And you will likely regain the weight you lost over time. However, making healthy choices as part of your weight loss plan will reap you far greater long term consequences. You only get one body, treat it right.
Look at labels. If you think about your body a little like you might think about your bank account, it would help you to make better choices. What do you want to deposit into your account: empty (and possibly hurtful) calories that are found in most processed foods and junk food or nutrient dense calories from whole foods that have not been processed. If you look at a label and find ingredients that you can’t pronounce or ones you can because you learned them in your science class, then put that box/jar/container right back down. You need a snack, grab an apple or a banana or even a healthy homemade baked treat that isn’t loaded with sugar and white flour. Put rich foods, not nutrient deficient foods, into that bank account called your body.
A note about exercise. I LOVE to exercise. I realize that makes some people mad. I’m not saying that I do it all the time; I don’t. (It’s hard with two little ones at home.) But I say that to say that while exercise is a healthy and possibly fun activity, it is not required for weight loss. If we are eating as we should, we should not HAVE to exercise to maintain. I’m not saying don’t exercise. Not at all. DO exercise. Find something you love to do and do it regularly. Enjoy it. Make it part of your lifestyle. But do not do it simply as a tool for weight loss. I say that because I know that sometimes we get injured or sick or you name it. If you rely on exercise, you WILL gain weight when you’re out of commission. However, if you make healthy choices as part of your lifestyle, then if you take a break from your exercise routing, for whatever reason, you can still maintain your weight. Realizing that helped me so much in my own journey.
You can do it. Every day is a new day. If you made bad choices yesterday, start over today. If you made bad choices at your last meal, start over at your next meal!
How are you doing with your new year’s resolutions?
Do any of your new year’s resolutions involve eating healthier and saving money? It can seem impossible to do both. But, if you’re serious about both of those resolutions, it’s possible. You can be thrifty and healthy! Here are a few tips to help you navigate the world of organic foods (which can be very expensive) on a budget.
1. Check out the frozen section.
You can get organic produce on sale–and should look for organic produce to be on sale seasonally. However, you can generally find better deals on organic fruit and vegetables in the frozen section than you can in the produce section. Then, on occasion, when frozen foods are on sale, you can get even better deals and stock up your freezer.
2. Look for local organic brands.
With the increasing demand for organic foods, local stores have started their own lines of organic foods and products. Kroger, HEB, Costco, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s all have their own organic brands, which tend to carry more reasonable price tags. So check your favorite store for it’s own line of organic foods to save money at the register.
3. Buy in bulk.
We buy all our organic oatmeal in the bulk section. Two of our local stores often have bulk discounts. So we tend to stock up on oatmeal during those times. You can also get great deals buying bulk organic foods from warehouse stores, like Costco. We now buy our organic rice, coconut oil, bread, among much more, at Costco.
4. Buy online.
Comparison shop is the key to determining whether you should buy something online. I used to buy our coconut oil online until Costco started carrying their own brand of organic coconut oil. I also used to buy organic black beans in the bulk section of our local grocery store until I found a great deal on bulk organic black beans online. I’ve shopped for organic foods and products at Vitacost, iHerb, Azure Standard, and Amazon.
How do you save money eating organic?
Every January we are all inundated by weight loss ads everywhere. “Get your best body now!” is an ad that popped up on one of my screens recently. They all pretty much say the same thing. But they act like you can’t do it unless you pay someone for work out training, packages of food, coaching, or some sort of fancy app. Now, I do think that most of those things can be very useful. But I don’t believe that you need to pay to get in shape!
About a year after having our youngest child, I realized that after trying so hard to lose all the baby weight that year, I was still carrying a few post-baby pounds around. So, I got more intense and in the process got into the best shape I’ve ever been in… without spending a single dollar. You can do it, too!
1. Have Fun.
Find some way to exercise that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it just a little bit, you won’t be doing it for long. I began running. I love working out outside. It’s much more refreshing to me than running on a treadmill at the neighborhood recreational center. Maybe you don’t like running. Walk. Take your iPod or phone and play music. Honestly, I am not sure if I could even run one mile if I don’t have my music playing! It makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable.
2. Eat fat!
Yes, I said, “fat.” Studies show that eating good fats, like what you find in coconut oil, eggs, avocado actually helps boost your metabolism. One of the habits I started when I was trying to lose that baby weight was putting a spoon of coconut oil (or grass fed butter, when I happen to have it on hand) into my coffee every morning. It’ll help boost your metabolism in the morning. Plus, it tastes great! Some experts recommend getting good fat like that three times a day to keep your metabolism working for you all day. Don’t deprive yourself of food. Just eat whole, nutritious food that will satisfy you rather than processed foods that will fill you with calories and leave you hungry and looking for a snack in an hour.
3. Eat lots of raw fruit and vegetables.
They are great for your body but a lot of fruit and veggies require more calories to burn than they have. So, you can eat and burn calories at the same time.
There’s no reason why you have to pay for a program or a person to help you get in shape. You can do it and enjoy it. Enjoying it is one of the best motivations to making it a habit and not another failed resolution.
What do you do to get in shape?
One of the greatest things about a new year is the chance to start again in so many ways. One of the ways we get to start over is in the area of finances. I’m about to sit down to re-work our family’s budget. So I thought I’d share a few budget-making tips at the start of the year.
1. Review Last Year
Look over your 2014 spending. What did you get right? What did not work? How did you do with your debt? Did you reduce or eliminate it or did you add to it? How about your grocery budget? How does your savings account look? Did you pay all your bills on time or did you run into late payments and bounced checks? Take an honest look at it all and figure out how you’re going to fix your failures. Let’s do better this year!
2. Re-evaluate Your Budget
Is your budget accurate? Is it working for you or do you need to make changes? Did you add a gymnastics class for one of your children? Did your toddler get potty trained? Cut that diaper cost out of your budget and take a second to congratulate yourself on a job well done. 😉 You might need to review your budget with your spouse. An inaccurate budget is like no budget at all. So, make it count.
3. Predict Extra Expenses
Take a look at last year’s “extra” expenses and make some educated predictions about ones that may come up this year. Then, make a plan to start saving for those. Extra expenses may include special trips, dental work that needs to be done, summer camps, and even Christmas presents.
4. Ask for Discounts
Take a look at your bills and look on each company’s website to see if they have any offers or discounts available. You can also just call customer service to find out about any deals or discounts that may be available to you.
What do you do to make an effective, successful budget?
It’s that time of the year. Christmas is now behind us and New Year’s is just around the corner. Along with taking down Christmas decorations, try to detox from all the Christmas goodies, return gifts and begin thinking of New Year’s resolutions.
Here are a few thoughts on this Thrifty Diva’s resolutions for thrifty living in 2014.
1. Prioritize. I used to clip coupons “just in case” a deal would come up that would make something I don’t buy worth buying. As a result, couponing took a lot of time. Clipping coupons was just a part of it; because I knew I had clipped those coupons, I was always on the lookout for deals on both what we needed and what “might be good to have around.” No more. I still clip coupons. However, I only clip coupons for what we actually need: organic foods, diapers, toilet paper, make up and razors. A friend of mine recently said, “Own it; don’t let it own you.” That motto can apply to anything in our lives; it definitely applies to thrifty living.
2. Stock up when prices are low. When you are able to, stock up on your staple items. It saves money and time in the long run.
3. Revisit meal planning. I did some meal planning a couple of years ago and loved it. It saved me money and and time and stress! So, I plan to plan!
Will you make New Year’s resolution this year?
I have been thinking a great deal lately about the things I need to do to reach the goals that we have set for our family. Whether it’s a better vehicle or moving to a better neighborhood most families have goals or life altering events going on in our lives. Here are a few more ways to make our family goals more possible.
Finish The Unfinished
I have many books that I have yet to read or finish reading. I have a number of craft projects that I need to finish as well. Instead of buying new projects and books this year I intend to finish what I have already started.
I have DVDs. I have Netflix. I have Hulu and Pandora. Before I go out and buy more entertainment items, I need to make sure that I am unable to get them from the other services (stored or online) available to me.
I have cute outfits and shoes that I can’t find. Every now and then I end up wasting money because I replace an item that is just buried and forgotten in a closet. It makes me angry because that’s money that could go elswhere if only I had kept my closets organized.