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Losing weight and implementing a healthy lifestyle can seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re short on time and a budget. It sure would be nice to hire a dietician or order a Peloton, but that’s just not the reality for most people.
However, just because you’re living life on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t achieve all of the weight loss and fitness goals you’ve set for yourself.
We’ve created a list of different tips and tricks that won’t break the bank or take up too much of your time. So let’s take a look at how to lose weight on a budget and busy schedule.
You’ve probably heard this advice before and maybe even rolled your eyes at it. We did until we read further studies backing this claim. While you’re eating, certain digestive process stages trigger signals to your brain, letting it know when your body is full. These messages tell your brain it’s okay to shut off the hunger signal.
Harvard Health Medical School published an in-depth essay explaining this process. Essentially, your stomach has what are called stretch receptors. Those receptors are activated by the food or various beverages entering your body.
Once these stretch receptors are activated, they send signals to the brain. Signals are also released as soon as food begins to leave the stomach and enter the small intestine for further digestion.
The small intestine then releases a hormonal signal to the brain. This hormonal signal lets the brain know that the body is now happy and full.
So what does all of this mean? Basically, slowing down the eating process allows the food in your stomach to begin entering the small intestine while you’re still eating.
The hormones will be released, and your brain will believe that you are now full. If we eat too quickly, we can overfill our stomachs before the stretch receptors, and other signals have time to reach the brain. This trick might not work for everyone, but it’s certainly worth a shot, and it doesn’t cost you anything.
We know what you’re thinking, “but I’m busy and don’t have time for this!” That’s not the case. Just focus on fully chewing your bites before swallowing and you’ll notice a difference.
Drink More Water
Water is the elixir of life, so the saying goes. And that saying has an awful lot of truth to it. Also, it’s free, which greatly helps with the budget aspect of this tip.
Many studies have been conducted revealing benefits like appetite suppression, metabolism stimulation, and increased motivation. Let’s break each of these down further.
Suppressing the Appetite
Water suppresses your appetite similarly to how eating slowly also helps you lose weight. Water stretches your stomach and sends those same neural signals to your brain, letting it know that it’s full.
Johns Hopkins conducted a study where they required individuals to drink two glasses of water immediately before consuming their meals. They discovered that those who drank the water before eating ate 22% less food than those who didn’t have any water.
Stimulating the Metabolism
You probably already know this, but just to clarify, metabolism is the process that takes place when your body breaks down food and liquids and converts them into energy.
Similar to the appetite suppression study, another study was conducted in which individuals were asked to drink two glasses of water half an hour before eating their meals.
The results found that there was a 30% metabolic increase in the individuals who drank the water. Granted, the study said this wasn’t concrete proof, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to drink more water.
Dehydration is your worst enemy. It can cause fatigue, stress, confusion, and irritability, just to name a few issues. If you’re dehydrated, you’re already doing a disservice to yourself and your motivation to tackle your goals.
If you’re feeling extra lazy and unmotivated to do your workout, try catching up on your water intake for the day. Have you ever heard of the saying pee clear be clear? Essentially, it means that when we are hydrated, our minds are also clear. If your urine isn’t clear, drink up.
Make Movement Goals
Gym memberships can be pricey and often the first expense to go when living on a budget. We’re here to tell you, you don’t need a gym membership to get fit! Most gyms are closed right now anyway. If you’re new to working out at home or seeking a routine, then keep on reading.
Find A Workout You Love
It’s important to take the time to find a workout you actually enjoy. We’re pretty fortunate right now that so many fitness instructors are live streaming and posting workout videos on social media and YouTube. There’s truly a workout for every interest online right now.
We want to suggest you sit down with a calendar for the upcoming week, write down three or four different workout styles you’d like to try. Maybe those include lifting weights, pilates, yoga, and kickboxing.
There are many more styles than that, but for the sake of this example, that’s what we’re going with. Now find a pilates exercise you’d like to do on Monday, put it in your calendar. Similarly, find a workout for each of the other exercise styles you chose and schedule them throughout the week as well.
Finding your workouts ahead of time will help motivate you to accomplish them throughout the week. It’ll also save you time on your busy weekdays. After experimenting with different exercise types, decide what you like best and keep going!
Go For A Walk
Many of us are spending more time indoors than we ever have before. Sunlight is important for your overall mental health and well-being. Get up and go for a 20-minute walk through your neighborhood.
We’d suggest you start your day with your walk and then go straight into your morning exercise routine of choice. Or perhaps you want to wind down at the end of the day with a walk—not a problem.
Just so long as you get outside and get moving. You’ll notice your overall mood is lifted and your motivation to work out and lead a healthy lifestyle will also grow tenfold.
Find Equipment On A Budget
Now is the time to build your home gym on a budget. Being stuck at home has inspired many people to go through their belongings and get rid of what they don’t need anymore.
Check your local Craigslist and see what all secondhand workout equipment you can find. While it may not be a Peloton, you might find a really great stationary bike at a fraction of the price.
Some other minimal and effective equipment you might want to invest in would include hand weights, ankle weights, and resistance bands. However, if your budget is really tight, swap out some heavy books or full water bottles for your hand weights.
You can also create resistance by holding onto opposite ends of a towel and stretching your arms until the towel is taught. There are all sorts of ways you can get creative at home.
Now for the real fun, let’s talk about a few different food choices that can help you lose weight while sticking to a budget. All of the stationary bike riding and half hour yoga YouTube classes won’t make a difference if you’re not eating correctly. We’d also argue that getting your eating habits under control will also benefit your budget.
If you’ve never tried meal prepping before, it’s truly life-changing. Sure it takes a little work, but you will thank yourself time and time again throughout the week when there’s a ready-made meal waiting for you.
Take an afternoon to sit down and decide exactly what you’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This will make your next grocery trip so much easier and only buying what’s on your grocery list will save you a lot of money. You’ll also waste less food.
If you take one night a week to make your meals ahead of time, it’ll be so much easier to stick to your goal of eating healthier throughout the week. Also, having ready-made food on hand in your fridge or freezer will prevent you from eating out, saving you money.
Eating the Same Thing
If you struggle with portion control and eating too much, this is a way to trick your brain. For example, let’s say you eat rice, broccoli, and chicken every night for dinner.
If you eat this every night, your brain will learn that this is the correct dinner portion size because it will become used to this meal. Is this the most exciting meal on the planet? No, but you’ll also save a lot of money by only purchasing minimal ingredients.
Eating the same thing every day can also help you implement some structure into your eating habits. However, if you’re going to use this strategy, make sure you’re including different nutritional benefits in each meal and taking a multivitamin to prevent any deficiencies.
Find A Fun App
If you’re still struggling with motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle, try making a game out of it. There are apps specifically designed to make your workouts more enjoyable and at a meager cost.
Most people dislike running simply because it’s boring. Sure, you can track your runs and see the numbers add up, but not everyone finds that motivating. What if we told you, you were being chased by zombies? You’d probably run really quick. That’s the idea behind this app.
When you use the app Zombies, Run! you’re taken through the realities of a zombie apocalypse. The narration gives you different missions throughout your workout like rescue these survivors or hurry up and collect supplies.
The narration will also let you know when zombies are chasing you and you’ll have to sprint as fast as you can to escape the hoard or risk becoming part of the undead.
The app is enjoyable, but it’s also functional. It’ll track things like your distance, calories, and pace so that you can see how much progress you make over time. It also happens to be the highest selling fitness app.
This app doesn’t require you to run for your life, but it will equally motivate you to keep moving. The app tracks your speed and movement and changes the beat-based tempo on how quickly you’re going.
Let’s say you want to take a nice stroll through the neighborhood, the music will be mellow and chill to match your pace. However, if you catch a sudden burst of motivation and want to sprint, the music will shift with you and the tempo will increase. You’ll be surprised at how motivating it is to increase the tempo.
The app also tracks your runs and has a multitude of genres for you to choose from. If you’re a music lover or just want to add some pep to your step, try downloading this app.
This app runs off of the principle that you just need to devote 7 minutes to your workout. This is ideal for individuals who don’t think they have any time for a workout routine.
We bet you can find at least 7 minutes to pop out some squats. The workout system uses a high-intensity circuit training style program or HICT for short.
What’s even better, every exercise in the program is a body weight exercise and doesn’t require any equipment. We love a low maintenance workout routine.
If you find that you need more motivation to use the app consistently, you can set challenges and alerts reminding you to workout. The app also unlocks more exercises the more you use it.
Remember to be kind to yourself while on your journey. Losing weight and implementing a healthier lifestyle takes time. You’ll occasionally fall off the wagon, but what matters is that you get back up and keep going. It is entirely possible to lose weight on a budget and with a busy schedule. We believe in you!