These are the 9 frugal tips I used on my budget weight loss journey. In fact, in the first six weeks alone, I lost ten pounds!
As I read the cheery testimonials of yet another popular diet book I was intrigued, but skeptical.
I had already tried so many complicated programs over two years to lose my baby weight.
And all of them failed.
“I Never feel deprived.”
“…and I can still eat chocolate/cake/bacon everyday!”
“Lose weight permanently.”
“It’s so easy!”
Of course, they also fail to mention that they don’t always work, and frequently they are too expensive and unrealistic for a busy mom of young kids.
It wasn’t until I gave up and made some of the simplest and cheapest changes to my diet and lifestyle that the scale finally started to move.
These tips I used to finally lose 10 pounds are eye-opening, at least, they were to me. I never imaged the next miracle diet I tried would also be the simplest.
It doesn’t have any ‘weird’ diet foods and recipes, meal replacements, or supplements required by a lot of the fad diets.
I don’t usually count calories or measure my portions.
And anyone can do it, even on a budget. In fact, successful dieting and budgeting go hand in hand.
This post includes a whole bunch of links to resources I found helpful in my budget weight loss journey. Some of them are affiliate links, but most of the resources are free.
Budget Weight Loss: Weeks 4 through 6
If you’re working on a budget weight loss goal, take a few weeks to prepare and ease into it, This can set your weight loss and budget up for success.
Be sure to read Phase 1 of this plan to see what I did in Weeks 1 through 3.
After that preparation period, these are the 9 frugal tips to consider adding into your healthy diet and lifestyle for budget weight loss.
1. Snooze to Lose.
The link between sleep deprivation and weight gain has been pretty well publicized over the last couple of years. Lack of sleep may make it harder to control appetite and also leave you with less energy to exercise.
Try to get seven or eight hours of sleep each night. You’ll need even more if you’re pregnant, wake frequently, or haven’t been getting enough sleep for a while.
I certainly have put this to the test over the last several years with nighttime parenting my two little ones. I also suffer from insomnia even when they aren’t waking me up.
I knew I had to make sleep a priority.
First, I worked on getting my toddler to sleep through the night.
Then, I set an alarm on my FitBit to remind me to get ready for bed at 8:30 pm, and I try to have lights out by 9. (Use an alarm on any device if you don’t have a FitBit.)
I also knew screen time and thoughts about work kept me from falling asleep, so that was the first to go. I now rarely watch TV or use my phone or computer before bed.
My husband got me a Kindle Paper White for my birthday this year, so now I can read before bed without interfering with my sleep.
2. Lose the weight off your shoulders first.
Stress related to work, personal relationships, life constraints, and finances are all associated with weight gain. Whatever the source, identify it and find ways to eliminate stress.
Take a few minutes to set specific financial goals and reduce your stress. I felt such an immediate sense of relief when I did this years ago.
I’m 100% terrible, the worst, at letting go when I’m stressed out, so I knew I needed to make this a priority.
I started doing 10 minutes of simple deep breathing and relaxation in the afternoons after I put my kids down for their nap with the free Headspace app.
Meditation can help improve self-control long after you complete the exercise (think avoiding food cravings and exercising more) and, of course, reduces stress.
This might sound a bit woo-woo, but I’ve found it’s not that different from the relaxation practice I did to prepare for my natural childbirths.
If nothing else, it gives me a much-needed rest in the middle of the day!
3. Slow it Down
Eating slower and chewing more can help you eat less and feel more satisfied after eating.
Along with relaxation, I now take more time to sit down and enjoy meals, eating slowly. This is hard to do as a busy mom, I know.
But I also think of it as a good example to set for my children. Or maybe they’re setting the example for me. We all know how long it takes a toddler to finish dinner!
Since beginning the habit of eating slower, I often notice I’m full a lot sooner and end up eating less than I put on my plate because I’m just not hungry for it.
4. Wash it All Away.
Steam baths could help you lose weight by aiding your relaxation as well as detoxification.
This form of sweating for weight loss is so much more tempting than exercise, to me at least!
5. Water, the secret to weight loss?
People who have lost weight and kept it off say hydration is one key to their success.
Fortunately, drinking extra water costs almost nothing, so it’s worth a try.
Drinking enough water can be a struggle as a busy mom. I’m distracted with the needs of my little ones and don’t even realize I’m thirsty until after the kids go to bed.
Sleep, relaxation, drinking water, and detox baths are some of the most pleasant and frugal ways to boost your health and weight loss.
While they can be tough to fit into our busy lives, it’s worth it.
The next four tips focus on small changes in what we eat that could make a big difference in weight loss success, and they can all be done on a budget.
6. Cut the Junk
In phase one, I cut out sugar and all other sweeteners.
Well, when you cut out all sugar, you’ll realize this leads to removing most processed food from your diet. Sugar is almost everywhere in pre-made foods!
While it might seem eating healthier whole foods costs a fortune, you can actually save money on groceries even without eating packaged foods or clipping coupons.
Needless to say, cutting out processed junk makes it challenging to eat out, so this tip helps your budget even more.
In addition, cut out more toxins and try to eat as many organically grown foods as you can fit in your budget.
You can save money on healthy, natural foods, often for the same price as conventionally-grown, by creatively sourcing your food and buying in bulk.
Cutting out processed foods is also an easy way to remove all the traces of unhealthy oils, artificial colors, flavorings, and junk they contain.
7. Go Vegetarian, maybe.
One of the biggest concerns people have, when they ask me about saving on groceries, is cutting out meat to save money.
They’re sure they and their kids will be starving all the time. And I have to say I had the exact same worry.
Previous to cutting out sugar and processed foods, I would always feel hungry and unsatisfied after a vegetarian meal, so those were always rare in our house.
After being off sugar for several weeks, however, I felt satisfied and energized after my meatless meals. I think this is a sign of stabilizing blood sugar and overall health.
Be sure to include protein and slow burning carbs like beans or lentils to your meatless meals, and enjoy!
This is another tip that may both help you save money and lose weight.
8. Avoid Allergens.
Some doctors believe food allergies can cause weight gain.
Consider removing some of the top allergens from your diet for a time to see if this helps with your weight loss and brings relief to other symptoms you might be having.
Common allergies and sensitivities include:
- Wheat & Gluten
- Tree nuts
- Fish & Shellfish
Allergy-friendly packaged foods are expensive. Instead, avoid processed foods and plan your meals ahead of time. This will help you stick to your allergy-free diet and your budget.
If I were to guess, this made the biggest impact on my weight loss.
I already ate healthy, real food before starting any kind of diet. Even after I gave up sugar and processed foods and increased my fiber and veggie intake, I only lost a couple pounds.
When I cut out the top five from the list above the scale really started to move.
I hope this will give me some new insights into my health and weight, and allow me to add some of these foods back in long term.
9. Stop the Snack Attack.
Try giving yourself an eating curfew a few hours before bedtime. This is a common recommendation for boosting your metabolism and improving sleep, and it’s one more free weight loss trick to try.
This makes logical sense. As most of us aren’t known for having the most discipline in the late night hours, night time snacking tends to get less and less healthy.
Each night after dinner, I go in and brush my teeth to signify to myself that eating is done for the day.
Budget Weight Loss Tips to finally Lose 10 Pounds this Year
After trying several popular diets to lose weight and regain my health for so long, I can hardly believe this collection of ridiculously simple hacks is what worked.
By week 6 I had finally lost 10 pounds!
So, before you jump on board with any expensive fad diet, I would ask you, have you tried the easy stuff first?
Have you committed to doing the basics of taking good care of yourself: to reduce stress, get enough rest, and drink enough water?
Not only are they practically free, but they’re pretty painless too.
Then have you made the small changes to your eating like eating more veggies and focusing on real foods?
Do you eat foods your body may be sensitive to?
Whatever you do, don’t give up. There is hope. You owe it to yourself and your family to peruse one of the most priceless assets you have, your health.
By the 6 week mark, I didn’t care as much about the number on the scale, though. Because I felt so amazing. More energetic and clear-headed than I had been in years. I even slept through the night a few times.
And yes, I do still eat chocolate every day.
What has your weight loss journey been like? Share your story in the comments!