I’ve never been what you could call a small girl, in fact, my Russian and Irish peasant heritage can be most clearly seen in my broad back, wide hips and sturdy thighs. I am proof of evolution’s insistence on the survival of the fittest; my body was designed to get me through a hard day’s work in the fields, and carry me through a winter’s famine.
But sigh, alas, be it as it may, society doesn’t like pudgy people, and frankly, I don’t feel my best being one. Not to mention that it’s not very frugal to have to renew one’s wardrobe in ever larger sizes because one’s old clothes can no longer be zipped up or buttoned.
So, I’ve decided to go on a diet. Not so much a diet, actually, as a restructuring of the way I eat. I know that I eat too much, and the wrong things, and my body tells me so- not just in the aforementioned ill-fitting clothes, but also the inability to walk up the three flights of stairs to my office in one go, the worsening affects of my fibromyalgia and the panting in the summer heat.* I’ve had to accept, also, that I’m not going to bear any more children, so there will be no undoing of all my hard work by yet another pregnant belly or milky breasts. I can no longer pretend that the baby belly has an actual relationship to the baby, instead of too many crepes!
Being frugal however, I’m reluctant to spend lots of money on losing weight. And it’s more than that- I also want to be able to make a permanent change in how I eat, not a system that I’m going to have to pay for for the rest of my life. I also want to integrate, fold in, go with the flow of these new life style patterns, to have them become a natural way of being, instead of something that I have to go out of my way to do. Part of my reluctance to pay for a diet solution also has to do with a few specific circumstances, like not liking the Weight Watchers leader in the area (yes, the one woman who leads all the WW groups near me), or feeling like I already don’t spend enough time with my kids without taking more time away from them to go to the gym.
Here’s what I’m doing- what I’ve found (so far) that work for me.
Calorie counting: I use my iPhone for everything (rarely to make phone calls, in fact) and always have it on me. So when I discovered an iPhone app, and website, called MyFitnessPal via my friend Laura of The Portable Baby, I knew I had to check it out. I love that it’s so easy to use and espicially that it has a lot of French food brands in the system, which makes adding foods or meals easy. I do wish that editing foods in a recipe on the website were easier, that you could add a different serving size, or that fruits and veggies were ‘free’ like in Weight Watchers, but overall it has made tracking my calories, exercise and water consumption natural and easy to do. I’ve even got my husband using it!
Strength Exercise: A friend of mine recommended doing an exercise called The Plank (in French, sorry!, or here’s something from About.com), at least once a day, and let me tell you…it works your tummy muscles! I like that it doesn’t take long to do and that I don’t need any extra equipment. I’m also starting to do The Bridge, which I first learned about in physical therapy nearly 20 years ago (!), to strengthen my back and glutes. Finally, for strength training at least, I’m also doing a yoga pose called Downward-Facing Dog, which helps strengthen my arms and shoulders and increases the flexibility in my wrists, sorely needed because I’m prone to tendinitis. The whole routine takes only five-minutes and isn’t too overwhelming, which means that I can do it every day (if I forget, once I’m in bed, I can pop out of bed and do it on the floor in my pajamas), it’s concrete enough to effect immediate change, and it doesn’t cause my fibromyalgia to flare up like other activities can do…I’m so out of shape!
Cardiovascular Exercise: I don’t really want to spend more money on a gym membership, so instead, I’ve started walking to and from work (20 minutes each day) twice a week. It’s a nice walk, and often faster than driving (another plus!). On top of my commute, I’m trying to do more physical stuff with my kids- running around with them at the park; today, for example, we’re heading off to the swimming pool.
Along with the regular advice (eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies, drinking water and exercising more) I know that losing weight doesn’t have to cost money, especially not when it’s something that becomes a part of your normal lifestyle!
What are your tips on losing weight, but not losing money!
*I’m probably making it all sound worse than it is, but accept the poetic license!
I was not compensated in any way for mentioning any of the above websites or companies- I just really enjoy their products!