Jan 3, 2009

How to Lose Weight on a Budget

The multi-million dollar diet industry continues to grow with new weight loss products, supplements, and special foods that promise to help you lose weight. After running the numbers it's clear that dieting doesn't always help you stick with your budget. Eating low fat, wholesome foods is a much easier approach for losing weight and doesn't have to weigh down your wallet! Here's how to lose weight on a budget.

Things You’ll Need:

* A journal or notebook
* A grocery budget
* Internet connection
* An exercise program you can commit to

Begin with a list. The first step in organizing your food intake is to start making a list of foods you can enjoy without breaking the bank. Write down at least 20-25 items located only on the perimeter of the grocery store; this includes produce, dairy products, and fresh meat.

Consult an online nutritional guide. Review nutritional information and serving sizes of various fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats to learn what types of nutrients, calories, and fat grams each item contains.

Determine your daily caloric intake. Multiply your weight by 10 and 13 to determine your acceptable calorie range. You will need to focus on the lower end to start losing weight.

Focus on wholesome and natural foods first. Turn to fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as the "base" of each meal. This will help you develop hearty dishes and meals that will make it easier to stick with your diet.

Take advantage of the convenience of frozen vegetables. Bags of frozen vegetables can cost between $0.79 and $1.50 per bag, and are enough to make an entire healthy meal. Stir fries, salad toppings, and even steamed sides are simple and budget-friendly options for lunch or dinner.

Eat a diet with a lot of healthy carbs. Make sure you're eating at least 1-2 servings of oatmeal, brown rice, or whole wheat bread; these are considered to be "healthy carbs" because they do not create a blood sugar spike and crash that often leads to overeating. They're simple to prepare and are much cheaper than white flour and white sugar-based alternatives.

Eat fruit with protein throughout the day. Fruit by itself can leave you hungry, so make sure you eat some protein along with it for longer satisfaction. This can include a piece of cheese, yogurt, or other high-protein snack.

Avoid snacking on sugary foods. Sugar can make you hungry in the long-run, so it's best to steer clear of sugar-laden foods and snacks whenever possible. Eat regularly throughout the day to avoid overeating at any given meal, and focus on natural, unprocessed food whenever possible.

Stock up on dried beans. Lentils and other dried beans are valuable sources of protein and can help you keep up with a healthy diet. You can enjoy large portions of these without worrying too much about calories and fat; they're also an excellent source of fiber that you need in any diet.

Eat your biggest meal in the afternoon. This will ward off hunger pangs and make it easier to eat less throughout the remainder of the day. In the long run, eating less will naturally reduce your grocery budget!

Workout regularly. Exercise increases the metabolism and naturally reduces the appetite. Working out on a regular basis will not only help you lose weight, but it can also reduce the chances that you'll overeat.

Drink at least 10-12 glasses of water per day. This will help keep your body in balance and can also eliminate mild hunger pangs.

Tips & Warnings

* Make a list before you go to the grocery store to avoid buying things you don't need
* Try new foods located in the produce section
* Choose leaner cuts of meat such as chicken and turkey that are generally cheaper than red meat
* Make sure you're getting enough quality nutrition throughout the day when you're working out intensively; if you're not eating enough, your diet program can backfire.