Aside from losing weight or improving your health, effectively spending your money must be one of your major goals this year. The great news is that you can achieve both at the same time.
The simplest and cheapest weight and health programs target real lifestyle change—the effects last. Before you set aside a budget for an expensive fitness or weight-loss plan, try these basic lifestyle strategies first:
- Make sure you get seven to eight hours of quality sleep, instead of spending time on expensive stress-management strategies, like shopping.
- Try to walk your dog, run outside, or dance to your favorite music at least 20-30 minutes on most days of the week, and try to do a body weight resistance workout two to three times a week wherever you can, instead of enrolling in a health club or exercise studio.
- Prepare and cook your own healthy meals, instead of paying for a food-delivery service.
- Get your friends or spouse as your weight-loss buddies, instead of paying a trainer.
If these basic strategies don’t seem to work for you, and you are the type of person who really needs motivation, then it’s time to invest in a coach or a program that can match your needs.
Here are some pointers on how to achieve long-term results so you get your money’s worth.
Do not commit to cheap deals right away. Think twice before you become a victim of sales talk or cheap online shopping promos, by committing right away to long-term programs and bulk fitness packages.
How sure are you that you can use all your discount coupons from three to five exercise studios in two months? It is actually better to pay for one or two trial workout sessions than to get bulk package sessions at first.
If you are just starting to exercise and you are still unsure of your exercise level, preference and needs, then it is more practical to get five to 10 personal training sessions than 50 sessions right away.
Do not commit to a one-year discounted exercise program/membership (unless you are 101-percent sure you can regularly use it for the whole year), just to find out along the way that you enjoy running outside more (which is free) and that you can actually lift weights on your own at home (also free).
Invest in quality programs and a good coach. Get the best value for money by choosing safe and effective programs that can work best for you. Avoid spending thousands of pesos on over-restrictive and quick-fix weight-loss programs that will negatively affect your health and your body image.
Staying fit is not only about having the most beautiful body in town. A fit person is physically, mentally and emotionally capable of functioning effectively at work and while with loved ones.
So get a coach who does not only see you as a client who can pay to lose weight, but someone who is more concerned with your overall well-being, understands your needs and financial situation, and does not push you to spend more, but can even influence you to become your own teacher, so you don’t need to spend more as you get better.
Make a plan and write it down. Careful and effective planning will strengthen your willpower to exercise regularly and save you from spending on accidental eating.
Yes, it is very common for exercisers to eat more calories than they burn from exercise. For example, you work out 60-90 minutes, six days a week so you can burn 500 calories in a Zumba class per day.
Without a financial and weight-control plan, however, you can spend P500 and eat a 1,000-calorie pizza meal on your way home. So instead of losing, you gain ½-1 lb a week and spend P3,000 a week on your post-workout meal (plus your monthly membership exercise fee).
This shows how important it is to plan your workout and meals, and even track expenses, so you can see if everything is worth what you are spending. You need to create your own game plan, like bringing your 300-calorie sandwich instead of spending on expensive meals.
Manage your stress
Sometimes, your weight-loss efforts may stress you because you think too much about your weight, tend to overexercise, and/or still have other concerns aside from your health.
Stress can make you spend on unnecessary things, like buying expensive clothes or bags just to make you feel better. It is also common for most people to reward themselves with food, just to feel better, even for a while.
The best way to manage stress while losing weight so that you can avoid overspending and overeating is to have a positive outlook in life, to get sufficient rest, and to do everything gradually and in moderation in terms of diet and exercise.
E-mail the author at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @mitchfelipe.