It’s the start of a new year and for many that means our ambition to accomplish new and amazing things has kicked into high gear. Many of us choose weight loss as our goal and, if you’re not careful, that goal can derail your budget faster than you can say “hold the mayo.”
But weight loss doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
There are so many diet and exercise programs out there (some good, some bad) to choose from, it’s hard to decide which one to commit to. And when you factor in cost – and how a program will fit into your long-term financial plans – it’s easy to feel discouraged and lose your motivation.
There is good news: you don’t have to spend money to lose weight! In fact, I’m living proof of that. I have lost 65 pounds without stepping foot into a gym and without spending money on a fancy diet program.
And if I can, you can, too. Here are the top five ways to lose weight on a budget.
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Drink LOTS of water
Water is basically free. Ditch the bottled water and go for tap (or filtered) water instead. It has tons of benefits.
Women’s Health lists these ways water impacts your weight loss efforts:
- Being dehydrated inhibits your fat burning potential when working out
- Thirst is often mistaken for hunger – drinking water helps you pinpoint your actual hunger level
- Water gives you energy to crush your workout and combat cravings
So drink up!
Download a FREE app
Calorie deficits lead to weight loss. My favorite app for calorie counting is My Fitness Pal. It’s completely free and syncs with my Fitbit app to better tally all my daily steps and the calories I expend from the extra walking I get in throughout the day.
The hardest part is getting in the habit of tracking consistently. Even if you miss a meal or two, just keep at it. Pretty soon it’ll become second nature and you won’t even have to think about logging your calories – you’ll just do it!
Try a workout video
You’ve heard it said that everything is on YouTube these days. Well, it’s true! Even awesome workout videos! My favorite go-to for free workout videos online is JessicaSmithTV. She has intensity levels for all strengths (even couch-potato levels), and offers a great variety of routines to truly make fitness fun.
If you want to step up your game, she has some videos available for purchase, too. These are the ones I have personally – and love them!
- 10 Minute Quick Walk Mix
- Walk Strong: 6 Week Total Transformation System
- Walk On: Walk the Weight Off 30 Day Plan
Pack your lunch every day
Going out to eat isn’t only a budget-buster… it’s a weight loss buster, too! Some meals have twice – even three times! – the recommended amount of daily calories you should be eating. And that’s just in one meal! Imagine the detriment you can do to your diet if you make eating out a habit.
Packing your lunch means you are in control of making healthy choices for your meals. Check out these great ideas that go beyond the simple sandwich.
Realize you WILL be hungry
Part of creating a calorie deficit is feeling hungry. The reality is that when we first start our weight loss efforts, we WILL feel hungry!
I know, I know. I hate feeling hungry, too. It won’t last long, I promise.
Going from an abundance of (mostly empty) calories to fewer (more nourishing) calories is going to take our bodies some getting used to. Hang in there, drink lots of water, and you’ll learn to recognize your true hunger cues.
I need your help my budget-busting friends! What are your top go-to tips for weight loss while sticking to your budget goals?