Since last September, I’ve been on a marathon of unhealthiness: my wedding, a week-long honeymoon, my birthday, Halloween candy, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s—with football season running through it all until Super Bowl Sunday. Eventually, enough was enough, and I looked for a solution.
Two friends of mine found themselves in a similar predicament, so we’re working together. In a Biggest Loser-style competition, whoever loses the largest percentage of his body weight over a 75-day period wins a prize, courtesy of the third place finisher. We’ve been motivating each other with constant heckling and trash talk since we started on March 1.
The loser’s punishment isn’t steep, but the shame of losing to two close friends is driving me to diet and exercise as best I can. Unfortunately, smart choices for my body aren’t always smart for my bank account. Healthy stuff is expensive! I’m only 3 weeks into my journey, but that’s long enough to have some takeaways for keeping my waistline and my wallet in good shape.
1. Work Out At Home (Or Somewhere Free)
As dedicated as I am to sculpting my body, I won’t let myself spring for a gym membership. There’s a few reasons for that.
First, I work at a college and have access to their facilities. It certainly helps to have an employer with a benefit like that. It’s a luxury that may not be afforded to you, which is fine because there are alternatives.
I prefer to work out at home anyway. There may not be as much equipment or energy at home, but it is 100% free and all to myself (and my wife). If you like taking classes or need some direction, surf around Google, YouTube, and Vimeo. There are tons of free and easy classes and programs online, many of which require zero equipment.
2. Plan Your Meals
I’m not an organized guy, even when it comes to food—and I am madly in love with food. I have friends who spend their Sunday nights cooking food for the rest of the week. That level of prep is great, but it’s just out of character for me.
Planning for me is more about knowing what is for lunch and for dinner each week. I’ve switched to salads at lunch every day, which means either having ingredients on hand each morning to prep for that day or venturing into the world to pay for someone else to make me a salad. The latter can be a nice Friday treat, but financially, it is so much more advantageous to stock up on veggies each week and craft my own concoctions.
The same goes for dinners, especially on the weekend. Without a plan, or even an idea, weekend meals can often mean settling for takeout or worse.
3. Make A Sacrifice
The biggest factor in my weight loss so far is probably having gone sober for the time being. It’s a tough task, and I may have missed out on some fun, but the numbers on my scale and my bank balance are no doubt improving together. Even though standing in a bar or going out to dinner and only drinking water has been a choice I’ve made for weight loss, the collateral effect on my tab at the night has been a welcome change.
This has been my choice, though it doesn’t have to be yours. Find a burden on your health and wallet and try to eliminate it, even for a bit. Sugary drinks at Starbucks, weekly pizza orders, or big fancy brunches are all nice ways to cut spending and calories.
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