10 Changes You Made To Lose 100lbs And Save Money

10 Changes I Made to Lose 100 Pounds and Save Money
An overweight man touches his stomach.

It’s funny how it’s the little things that seem to illustrate what you’ve known all along, but refused to admit. On March 20, 2011, I bent down to tie my loose shoelaces—and I couldn’t. I literally stood there dumbfounded. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes. At that moment I realized I had to do something about my increasing weight problem. I thought to myself, why not combine my financial goals with my weight loss goals?

Here’s how I did it…

1. I changed my plates

Well, I know this sounds like a poor way to save money. Anyone who has priced dishes lately knows that getting rid of all the dishes and getting new ones can be very expensive, but that’s not exactly what I did. Instead, I just got rid of the larger dinner plate sized dishes (I donated them to a local thrift store) and replaced those with all the smaller ones that came with my set. I know it sounds stupid, but that one thing that has worked wonders for me is losing weight.

One of the biggest problems I always have when it comes to food is that no matter what size of plate I’m taking, I’ve always filled it up with food and then I’ve always had everything on my plate. The portions I was eating were massive and were really ridiculous.

By switching to smaller plates, all of a sudden I could only put a certain amount of food on them (possibly about 1/4 of what would fit in larger plates) and it helped me a lot to control my portions. I don’t know how psychological it is (this ‘more is more’ mentality), but I feel fuller when I eat two portions of food from the smaller bowls than I did on one of the larger bowls even though the food portion is half that.

2. Drink more water

I have one exception to my rule about pouring my drinks into small glasses. I am allowed to drink as much water as I want and I have a large water bottle that I carry with me everywhere I go. This is the main form of hydration I have today in contrast to the massive amounts of sweet drinks I’ve been consuming before. By always having a water bottle with me, I can quench my thirst without having to go to the fridge for something sweet. If I’m craving something really sweet, I can have it and pour it into the little mug. Simply by getting a water bottle and getting used to drinking water most of the time, I have dramatically reduced the number of calories I take in through liquids and saved a lot of money.

3. I kicked my cocaine habit

I had a terrible habit of eating coca. No, not the kind that can land you in prison for decades, but soft drink. I was drinking about six cans a day (I know, I don’t even like to think about it today). Now I don’t drink cola at all. I’m not quite sure what the whole process was to make this happen. I think it started with the smaller glasses. It was a pain to have to fill up 5 glasses to drink one can, so this initially reduced the amount I was drinking. At some point, I realized I was drinking colored corn syrup and eventually eliminated it from my diet. Now not only do I feel healthier, but my wallet feels healthier too.

4. I prepare healthy snacks

I eat a snack. It’s something that no matter how hard I try not to do it, I still can’t get over it. Knowing this, I have to prepare healthy snacks for when those cravings come. If I don’t have healthy snacks I can eat, I’ll walk out the door to buy unhealthy snacks in a second. This is one of the most important parts of my ability to lose weight that I have had so far.

My biggest challenge is finding a variety of healthy snacks that are easy for me to make (I’m not a great cook) so I don’t get bored with my usual fruit and vegetable snacks. If anyone has a good resource for me on this, I would greatly appreciate it as this is one of the areas where there is an ongoing struggle.

5. I plan my meals

Part of the problem I had was that I never really thought about what I was going to eat until the moment I got hungry. The result was that I chose a lot of unhealthy prepackaged foods because they were easy and I could quickly get into my stomach to fill it up. It is difficult to lose weight when constantly eating ready-made food.

When I realized this, I learned to plan my meals in advance. I’m not a very good planner, so I’m still working on this, but I’m getting better. By planning meals ahead of time, I’m never left at the last minute without something that would allow me to make an excuse that I could go out to eat or grab a quick bite somewhere. I make my meals the night before so they are ready in the morning so I don’t rush out the door and don’t have time to prepare them. I plan my meals for the next week so I know what I’m eating each night (the slow cooker was sent out for this) so I don’t just sit there thinking about what I’m going to eat each night. By putting a little planning into it, I’ve learned to eat healthier than when I had to decide what to eat on the fly.

6. I Park Away

One of my biggest challenges with losing weight is that I’m not someone who enjoys working out. I had to figure out ways to get me moving and it didn’t seem like an exercise. One of the most effective ways I found was to park at the far end of all the parking lots so that I had to walk farther whenever I needed to go somewhere. It might not seem like it would make much of a difference, but it definitely helped me get a lot more exercise than I would otherwise.

7. Climb the stairs

Another one of those little extras I used to increase my workouts was that I stopped using lifts. Instead, I now go up the ladder. This, again, is a small step to getting me moving, but it made a huge difference in helping me lose weight and exercise that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

8. I sleep when I’m tired

This might sound odd on my weight loss list, but it’s another one I discovered when I started paying more attention to the triggers that make me eat. I’ve learned that when I start to get tired, it’s time to go to bed. If I stay awake when I’m tired, I start eating to try to help me stay awake. Once I learned that feeling tired was one of my eating triggers, I learned to go to bed a few hours before bed. I usually sleep now eight hours a night (I used to sleep less) which allows me to get a good night’s sleep so I don’t get tired during the day. This has made another huge difference when it comes to food consumption.

9. I practice stress relief

Another food trigger that I’ve discovered in me is stress. When I get stressed, I start eating. I’ve learned to spot when stress comes and try to relieve it in different ways. One of those is getting out and breathing fresh air. A short walk is better. When that’s not possible, I also have stress balls on my desk that I can squeeze out. I’m in the process of learning some breathing techniques that I have high hopes will be another effective tool in my stress relief arsenal. I still have a way of working on this trigger as I’m not always successful at reducing stress, but I’m getting a lot better at it. When I get better, I find that I can tell when the stress comes on and can deactivate it before I start eating.

10. Realize that this is a life change, not a diet

This is something I slowly came up with. I realize that what I do today is something I have to do for life, not just until the weight is gone. If I want to continue to lose weight and then maintain that weight, I will have to continue these lifestyle changes. Coming to terms with this has been more difficult than I thought because there are a lot of commercials promoting quick and easy fixes. Losing weight isn’t quick or easy, and I’ve come to the realization that a lifestyle change is the only way for me to succeed in the end.

In addition to losing weight, a huge financial benefit is that I lowered my costs by about $500 per month to make these changes. I have no idea if any of the above methods that worked for me would work for you. Like I said before, I’m not a weight loss expert and these are just some of the changes I’ve made that have happened to me through trial and error. I hope even a couple helps if you are struggling to lose weight. If you’re also on a trip like me, I’d love to hear about any other lifestyle changes you’ve adopted that have helped you try as well.

For more great savings tips articles, read these:

Best place to hide money in your house: Conversations with a thief

Seventeen bills worth more in your wallet than face value

Take the 365 Day Money Challenge and save $668 per year

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