I am purposely losing weight. Not that I was unhealthy, but I want to be healthier. And I want to stay that way for a long, long time. The older I get, the more I realize how much work this takes in our current society. After 50, it’s so much harder!
Since late last summer, I’ve lost nearly 20 lbs. (Thankyouverymuch.) Since Thanksgiving, I’ve lost 15 lbs. Wow! Over the holidays, even! I had a target weight for Valentine’s Day, and sadly, I came within 1 lb. of that, but did not hit it. NO WORRIES! It was one stepping stone along the way. I just have to cross it eventually. The up and down cycles are tiny now, and as long as I keep at it, it works.
Remember how I said I’ve switched to a mostly plant-based diet? Yeah, that Valentine’s steak wasn’t plan-compliant. But, “I was on a break!” It’s okay, really. I’m back to my regular eating now.
The new goal weight marker comes at Easter. And this I can do, if I don’t plateau. With Ash Wednesday this week, and Lent for 40 days + 10 Sundays = 50 days, the combination of thoughtfully doing without certain food luxuries and getting out in the coming warmer weather will help keep me on the right courses, spiritually as well as physically.
But frugally? You betcha! As evidence, I present that in January I stayed under my grocery budget. Eating smaller portions of lean animal protein, and aiming for once a day with that, is definitely cheaper than eating a heavy meat-based diet. There is plenty of decently-priced produce available right now. Maybe it’s not the fruit you enjoy in the middle of summer, or the fresh Nebraska corn from down the way. But you can find relatively local (within a few states’ distance) vegs and Texas or Florida fruit, if you eat seasonally. And my friend The Freezer supplies an abundance of preservative-free, sometimes organic, sometimes local, always delicious foods. Not bank-breaking.
When I combine my regular thrifty grocery shopping habits with reduced amounts of meat and cheese, and eliminate as much non-food as I can (without mutiny), it is absolutely the frugal way to eat. I’m looking for those sales all the time. Price matching saves time and gas, but sometimes I’ll swing by a store with a better price along my travels (so still saving gas). I always look for markdowns — I don’t always find what I’m looking for, but I do look. I even find really good, whole greens marked down.
Canned foods don’t have the same benefits as fresh. But whatcha gonna do when tomatoes aren’t in season? Look for sales in the canned aisle! Dry beans v. canned? Whichever is cheaper per serving! Since dry beans were incredibly marked down in January, I stocked up.
Brown rice. Reasonable, on sale occasionally, and a key part of my eating plan. A little goes a long way. That’s about it.
Exercise, moving around, keeping physically active, are important to this process. I can blame the cold, but really I haven’t been making it a priority like I should. In addition to my “walking” DVDs, I need to get outside more, get some sun on my face, put some mileage on my shoes. The other day, DH and I found a new-to-us trail that goes to a nearby grocery store that I don’t usually hit because it seems silly to drive there for their 1 or 2 coupon deals. But, with the “two stones” concept, this could be a helpful walk (roughly a 4-mile round trip).
Simple food is my M.O. these days, and keeping my purchases simple helps not only my “bottom line,” but also our budget bottom line. And moving around is free! I just need to step away from the computer.
What’s your favorite effective way to stay healthy frugally?