You Don't Have to Be Wealthy to Get Healthy
by Tricia Goss
The Financial Case for Good Health
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 64% of American adults are overweight. There's no better time than the New Year to resolve to get your weight under control. But have no fear! You don't need to take out a second mortgage to obtain a healthy figure. Here are several hints to help you trim your waistline without slimming your pocketbook.
Step away from the gym! Why be stuck with an expensive, inconvenient membership when your workout can be fun, facile, and free? One great way to get exercise is by walking. Not only does walking burn calories and firm up muscle, it can also help lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart attack risk. Lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement. Park farther from the door, get off the bus one stop early, or walk the dog an extra block.
Kids are natural athletes, so take their cue. Join them for an afternoon of soccer or softball. Hold a race on the lawn to see who's the rotten egg. Remember Red Rover, Freeze Tag, or Red Light, Green Light? Recall some of your favorite childhood games and share them with your brood. Not only will this get you moving, you're also certain to make some wonderful memories.
Visit the library, which is a treasure-trove of workout videos. Pick up a new one each week to keep your routine from getting stale. If weights are required, simply fill bottles with water or sand. And don't forget good old-fashioned weight bearing exercises like sit-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups.
We don't need no stinkin' prepackaged diet foods! The healthiest foods can be the most affordable. Buy fruits and veggies when they're in season and save a bundle. Don't be afraid to try new produce either; you might find a new favorite. For off-season goods, look no further than the frozen food and canned good aisles. Just remember to shy away from those prepared with buttery sauces or heavy syrups. Stay as close to nature as possible.
Watch for sales on lean meats. When you see them, stock up. Family packs will often mean big savings as well. Divide them into meal size packages and freeze. Take advantage of holiday meat sales. If you have freezer space, buy an extra turkey at Thanksgiving to enjoy in the spring and pick up additional lean steaks when your grocer has Fourth of July specials.
Think outside the supermarket. Farmer's markets offer a heap of fresh produce at a fraction of the store's price. Watch for pick-your-own signs at local farms to reap savings and benefit from the exercise, too! Bread thrift outlets are sure to have healthful offerings. Dollar stores frequently carry breads and cereals as well. Be sure to look for "whole grain" on the label or you may end up with mere white bread colored to look like wheat. Bread freezes well, also.
Kick the can! Research now shows that diet soda drinkers actually tend to gain weight. So make the can of cola an occasional treat and stick to water. A tall glass of ice water with a slice of lemon or wedge of lime provides a refreshing thirst-quencher at pennies a pop. Drinking cold water can actually speed your metabolism, and a cool mug-full can stave off the hungries. It can help rid your body of toxins and stored fat, relieve fluid retention, and maintain muscle tone. What are you waiting for? Go chug some now. I'll wait!
Got the munchies? Snack on air-popped popcorn sprinkled with garlic or Parmesan. Make inexpensive microwave popcorn by placing a tablespoon of unpopped corn in a brown paper lunch bag, folding the top over, and microwaving for about three minutes. Dip apple slices in a spoonful of peanut butter. The protein in the peanut butter will help you feel full. Buy plain yogurt in large containers and have a serving sweetened with fresh fruit or flavored with wholesome cereal.
And when you find yourself on the verge of a binge, sit quietly for a minute. Think about how you really feel. Rather than being hungry, you may actually be tired, bored, or stressed out. If so, take a nap, a walk or a bubble bath. Phone a friend or read a book. There are lots of ways to nurture yourself that don't add to your girth or your debt!
Take the Next Step: Have you resolved that this is the year you're going to trim your waistline? Take your cue from the above article and try a few of these great tips. Better yet, see if you can find additional ways to achieve a healthier you.
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