5 Tips to Save Money and Get Fit
A little over a year ago, my husband and I sat down for our annual budget meeting. It’s never something I look forward to, but it’s still something that needs to be done. We believe in stewarding our resources well, and that requires some mindfulness around spending.
In this particular budget meeting, my husband said “we need to cut back on dining out, and we need to cut back a lot. We are way overspending in this category.” I was pretty sad, because going out to eat for the experience is one of my favorite things. I like the getting ready, the presentation, obviously the food–all of it. So it felt like a loss to me. After some moping on my part, we tried to find ways to make this lifestyle change a bit more fun. And that’s where these five steps started, but as we started seeing results, we took things a little bit further!
Cook at home
We have always meal prepped in the Wickes’ home, but that was usually lunch Monday through Friday, dinner Monday through Thursday, and we typically ate out on the weekends. So we decided we would eat one dinner out, and cook one dinner at home. Because this meal was replacing an “experience” for me, I decided to make cooking the experience. We like to cook and try new things, so for one dinner on the weekends, we’ll make something a little more challenging and interesting than the kinds of meals we prep. I always try to get some kind of protein and vegetables when I cook, but for this meal, I’m not as worried about whether or not the protein is lean, or what portion of carbs or fats I have, etc. This meal at home is supposed to feel fun!
Drink less alcohol
I know this is a hard one. For me, alcohol goes with the experience. If you know me well, you’ll know it even comes down to the ice and glassware for me. So for us, we decided that when we cook fun meals at home, we would try to stick to sparkling water or just regular water as much as possible. Or, if we really want a cocktail or glass of wine (I always want a glass of red wine with curries), we try to stick to just one. It’s much easier to stop drinking or not start at all when you’re at home vs. at a restaurant where the server is always asking you “can I get you another drink?”
Make time to prepare some things for the week
As previously mentioned, meal prep has been a long-standing habit of mine, so this was something we just wanted to maintain rather than start. HOWEVER! If you don’t meal prep now and want to start, I recommend starting with a few things at a time, specifically the stuff that takes the longest, and is the thing you might say to yourself during the week “I don’t have time to cook that, I’m just going to order DoorDash.” For example, cutting up and roasting some sweet potatoes and vegetables is probably going to take an hour, if we’re including the time it’s in the oven. Why not take one hour on Sunday, to cut a bunch of potatoes and vegetables, stick them in the oven, and put them in a big storage container in your fridge. Then on the weeknights, you just reheat those while you pan-fry your salmon for 10 minutes and you’ve got a quick, easy dinner!
Eat lean protein
I mentioned when I cook a fun meal at home on the weekends I’m not worried about lean protein, but for the meals I prep, I focus on it. If you’re not familiar with “lean protein,” it just means protein that doesn’t have a lot of fat in it. Things like chicken breast, wild caught salmon, pork tenderloin, and lean ground turkey are all good options. A year ago, I was not very thoughtful about how lean my protein was in the meals I prepped, and then when I made the switch, I saw a major loss in body fat and a huge improvement in the gym.
As a person who has struggled with sleep for YEARS, I say this with the utmost compassion: you NEED sleep. You need it to regulate your hormones, appetite, mood, to build muscle and so much more. And you probably need more than you’re getting. For most adults, 7-8 hours should be the minimum, but we often try to get away with 6. For some people it’s as easy as setting a reminder to go to bed. Just turn off Netflix a little earlier and get in bed and they fall right to sleep! For some people, it may take a little more intentionality, like creating a longer wind down routine including meditation before bed. For some, it may be something you need to change about your diet and when you’re eating. For some, it may require help from a doctor. Here’s what I have to say about it, though: don’t stop trying new things until you find what works, and you start sleeping. It took me an hour at best to fall asleep every night and I would wake multiple times in the night and toss and turn for over a decade of my life, until I found what works for me. Now, I sleep and 1) it feels AMAZING and 2) I started to lose weight and build muscle in ways I never thought possible.
If you’re ready to make changes in your life, don’t try to do all of this at once. These changes happened over several months for me. Start with one thing and focus on only that one thing for about a month, and if you knock it out of the park, try to add another habit on top of that. If the first thing you tried didn’t go so well, don’t give up, but try it for another month and maybe look at the way you tried to implement it to see if it needs to change. And of course, you’re always going to be more successful with support along the way. Book a free intro to talk with one of our nutrition coaches to see how we can help you become the person you want to be.