Being healthy and fit seems to be quite the trend off late. With quotes such as “Strong is the new skinny” and “Love yourself enough to live a healthy lifestyle,” we all seem to want to jump onto the health bandwagon in our own little way. But at the commencement and somewhere along this journey, we realize that this switch to being healthier is costing us (literally). The wallet seems to be getting lighter whereas the rest of us, not so much. And so we ditch the prospect of a healthier version of us and go back to our old self.
However, contrary to popular belief, being healthy doesn’t have to be inversely proportional to losing dollars. Keep the dollars, lose the weight and the adipose fat and get lots of health, happiness and productivity in return. Now that’s a low glycemic index but still really sweet deal, right? Not losing money is one thing. But in fact, being healthy could even save you money! We bet that that’s a spin you probably haven’t considered.
No, ditch those daily juice cleanses and lunch delivery services and make some real, life-long changes which will save you dollars and buy you health. And don’t hit the panic button already, this doesn’t have to be some grand commitment. Just some small changes you can make which will go a long way. Read on to see what we are talking about:
Change #1: Cook your own food and ditch ready-made meals
Rationale: Let’s do some math here. A non fast-food burger might on an average cost us somewhere around 5 USD. However, if we prepare our own homemade sandwich, it would not cost us anywhere more than 3 USD. Cheaper-check. Healthier-check. More time spent in the kitchen connecting to your food and ingredients-check.
Change #2: Ditch the car
Rationale: Do you really need your car for tiny errands? Couldn’t you use a bicycle instead? And even if it’s a bag or two of groceries-there are no recorded instances of deaths by lifting bags and walking. This not only makes you healthier, you save on fuel costs and you help the environment too!
Change #3: Stock up on healthy foods
Rationale: That grocery trip you’re planning to take on foot or on your bicycle? Yes, please make a shopping list prior to stepping out for it. Stock up on healthy foods such as nuts, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, ingredients to whip up a homemade hummus/pesto/guacamole, whole-wheat penne etc. And please no gums, chips, chocolates, juices, biscuits and sugary cereals.
The foods which are kept at home are the foods you would reach out for when a hunger pang strikes (obviously). So creating an environment conducive to healthy eating by only stocking up on healthy foods at home is an extremely wise idea. Consuming unhealthy foods lowers your immunity, increases your chances of falling sick which means that you would eventually have to make a trip to the doctor and/or buy some medications. Healthy foods have the exact opposite effect and are thus, even though it may not be evident, save you hundreds of dollars otherwise spent on doctors, hospitals and medications.
Change #4: Eat your breakfast at home on weekdays
Rationale: Say no to take-away’s and to-go’s. Waking up a teensy bit earlier (20 minutes) won’t kill you. In fact, it would give your day a head start.
Here’s two images of what your morning could look like:
Image 1: Snoozing your alarm incessantly until you absolutely HAVE to wake up, crawling out of bed, showering, dressing up, packing, leaving and picking up a ginormous chocolate chip muffin and a venti black coffee (this is costing you a little under 7 USD 5 days/week) before you head to work. Feel a caffeine rush and a subsequent crash mid-morning which leaves you irritated and snappy.
Image 2: Wake up even BEFORE your alarm has gone off, walk to the kitchen, play some peppy music as you prep your eggs and toast. Sit down with your meal and devour it as you look through the paper. Shower, get dressed, pack, step out and wonder why you feel so pumped this morning. Realize that maybe it’s the fact that you didn’t jolt your nervous system like you do every morning with a big coffee and you didn’t have a massive sugar rush from a big meal.
Which one would you rather be? Of course, everyone who claims to not be a morning person knows how this is easier said than done but you do owe it to yourself to at least try. If you need more bait, think about the money you’d save daily, and how you will be more alert and concentrate better at work, which will transfer into more productivity which will give you..no points for
guessing.. a job promotion and perhaps even an appraisal! Save money and earn some more. All this from a tiny breakfast switch. Worth a shot, we say.
Change #5: Carry a fruit to work
Rationale: As you go through the process of getting healthier, you will learn that your compliance is heavily dependent on your ability to pre-plan meal logistics. In this regard, a simple thing to do every morning before you step out is throw in an easy fruit (apple, pear, banana) into your office bag and snack on it mid-afternoon when you’re hungry. If you don’t pack this, chances are you will walk to the vending machine and grab an unhealthy snack instead. Again, paying money for an unhealthy snack which makes you feel like crap right after versus eating a cheap, healthy snack which makes you alert and more productive. Which one would you rather do?
Change #6: Carry lunch to work
Note: Okay, if this seems like all too many things at once; remember that you don’t have to make all the changes together. Take them one at a time and once you have confidently and successfully incorporated one change, move onto the next one. So while you’re up and about making yourself a breakfast and packing yourself a fruit, throw in your lunch as well 😉
If it’s easier, make a 10-day lunch menu (Monday through Friday for 2 weeks), take a print-out and put it up on your refrigerator so that you’re not waking up every morning and worrying about what to cook today. If your meal requires some basic chopping and prepping, you could finish that the evening prior as well. A chicken roll, a vegetable sandwich, whole-wheat pasta are some wonderful options. Rationale stays the same-healthier, cheaper and thus, better for your body and your bank account
Change #7: Let there be light!
Rationale: When my apartment got revamped, my parents and my brother couldn’t stop talking and raving about their suave new purchase–black-out curtains! Basically, curtains that would make it impossible for sunlight to reach your bedroom. In fact, even if you need to take an afternoon nap, these babies can create an illusion of it being night time because they make the room so dark. Now isn’t that fancy? Unfortunately though, by doing this, you’re seriously depriving yourself of Vitamin D. So my suggestion is open the curtains, let the sunlight enter and save yourself the trouble of feeling depressed and the monetary cost of taking Vitamin D pills and/or shots.
Change #8: Pack a coffee from home
Rationale: I am going to level with you here. If you have woken up in the morning and managed to prep and eat your breakfast, pack your lunch and pack your mid-afternoon fruit, you’re already ahead of the game! And of course at the very least, you’ve earned yourself a coffee purchase before you step into work. But (and you could even wait for this to happen organically), consider making your coffee at home and carrying it along. It will save you money and who knows, you will end up drinking less caffeine because you’ll be in control of the amount you pour.
So there you have it, simple changes that could quite dramatically transform your life. Don’t wait for an opportune moment to start. Start with doubt and uncertainty but get started today!
Love and health,