LOSE WEIGHT ON A BUDGET (less than #3,500 per week)
If you’re like me, answering the question “How do I lose weight on a budget?” is the solution to helping you lose weight and keep it off for good. Of what benefit is spending all your paycheck on a so-called diet when you have other pressing issues to spend money on?
First thing first,
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Identify Your Goals
To lose weight on a budget, you need to spend a little time to identify your weight loss goal. What is your goal? Do you want to lose 10kg in one month? Do you want to lose a dress size for an upcoming event? Is it about your health? Whatever it is, identify your goal and own it. Your goals ultimately determine how you split your paycheck. We all want to reduce our budget consciously or unconsciously. It’s nothing to feel bad about and you only need 10 minutes to figure it out.
Create a realistic budget
Simply put, you need a realistic budget to nail this. With current market pricing for regular food staples, it’s pointless creating a budget that is unrealistic. This is where a lot of people fail before getting started. Imagine setting a weekly budget of #500 for food!!! That might not be achievable except if you want to live on garri and groundnut all through the week. While I agree that your budget will be based on your paycheck, it is very important to create a realistic budget.
Lose weight on a budget by eating readily available foods
The commonest mistake a lot of people make when starting their weight loss journey is eating imported foods when they can comfortably lose weight while eating their favorite Nigerian foods. You don’t need fancy foods like zero noodles, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, flax seeds, quinoa etc. to lose weight if you’re on a budget. Keep it simple and stock up on some basic veggies, fruit, lean protein, potatoes, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains [that you can afford]. Mix and match to make a variety of meals.
Rely on budget-friendly sources of protein
Proteins can be expensive depending on your sources of protein. Most times, I spend more than half of my food budget on proteins. If you are trying to lose weight on a budget, it’s best to stick with budget-friendly sources of proteins such as Eggs, Fish, lean meat, chicken, turkey, beans, oats, nuts, tofu, potatoes. See more plant sources of proteins here. My favorite tip for not going over your budget with proteins is to rotate your sources of protein weekly hence swap egg or fish for Chicken or Turkey weekly to lose weight on a budget.
Eat what’s in the season to lose weight on a budget
Produce that is “in season” are more abundant, and therefore cheaper. They are also more nutritious since most fruits and vegetables are fresh when in season. Most times a lot of us don’t even know what’s in the season while drafting our shopping list at home therefore, it is best to leave a blank check when drafting your list. You can make it as simple as “Vegetables – #500”. When shopping, just pick up what you enjoy that fits the bill.
Lose weight on a budget by buying in bulk
Buying items in bulk mean you can purchase exactly what you need, which will help you save money when done right. You will be surprised at how much you can save by buying in bulk in the right places. You can ask around in your area for where you can buy a particular produce in bulk. Most fresh produce can be bought in bulk at your local market particularly on market days. Some of us might think that’s impossible because we will be at work.
I hear you!
This is why building a relationship with the people around you is important. You can buy in bulk with friends and share it later in the day. The person with the most flexible work schedule goes to the market usually with some incentives if she’s always your go-to personal shopper. But guess what, the incentive doesn’t have to be money. Just find creative ways to swap favors.
Your other alternative is to get a personal shopper. This is just a fancy way of getting someone who does odds job around you that you trust to shop for you and pay for their service. You can also try this if you’re struggling with meal prep.
Water is your best friend if you’re trying to lose weight on a budget
Water should be an essential part of your diet, regardless: Up to 60 percent of your body is composed of water, and your body needs plenty of it to function properly.
It quenches thirst, provides zero calories, boosts metabolism, aids bowel movement and it is provided for you by God free of charge.
The amount you need will vary by individual goals and environment, but Experts recommend consuming 2-3 liters of water daily.
Don’t like plain water? Infuse it with your favorite fruits and herbs for a delicious, satisfying, and hydrating drink.
Go shopping with a list
To avoid wastage by buying what you will end up not eating, it’s best to decide on what you plan to eat for the week. Even if it is a rough outline, just get it done. The next thing to do is to draft your shopping list.
After drafting your shopping list, you want to strike out things you already have at home from your list. You only need to buy what you don’t have at home.
Having a plan and a shopping list helps you make healthy choices while losing weight on a budget. Buy the products you love, mix and match and you’ll end up eating yummy meals all through the week.
My personal tip for you is to avoid eating 21 different meals for the week. Not only is it time, money and energy consuming, but it also is mostly not sustainable. From my list, notice that my breakfast options are just 2 simple meals. Overnight oats are grab and go, while omelet requires less than 10mins.
Short and sweet is always best for breakfast!
For lunch, stick with healthy foods you enjoy. Cooking just anything will make you visit Iya Sikira despite packing your lunch to work. Do you know what that leads to? I’ll tell you. It leads to spending double budget on food and wastage because you’ll end up not eating what you have at home. Therefore, it is imperative to cook the foods you enjoy.
If you need more clarification about drafting a meal plan and grocery list, kindly let me know in the comment section below!
Skip the processed snacks and make your own
For my busy professionals on a crazy schedule, fruits and nuts should be your go-to snacks. Processed snacks are not only expensive in the long run, they are bad for your weight loss goal. They spike up your sugar cravings and results in excess caloric intake.
Making your own healthy grab-and-go snacks requires a little more effort, but it’s a weight loss tip that can save you precious money and calories. From my list, you will notice that I will be making baked sweet potatoes. I love it so much that I can eat if for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day! I just bake and portion it out to eat during the week. Remember that overeating healthy foods will also result in weight gain.
Planned snacks can help keep you satisfied and curb overeating at mealtime.
Be creative with leftovers
To get the biggest bang for your buck, keep track of what you have and what you’re using. Look for new ways to incorporate spare ingredients, like tossing it in with a stew or salad. Add new flavor to your soup by stir frying with onions and olive oil. Just mix and match!
From my grocery list, pepper mix will be used for vegetable soup, vegetable stir-fry, omelet and potato porridge. Groundnuts and banana for snacks, overnight oats, and pancakes. Eggs for an omelet, salad, and pancake. The list is endless. All you need is to let out your creativity.
The beauty of meal prepping is that you take inventory about once a week, which in most cases is enough time to catch items you forgot about and use them before they go bad. If power supply in your area is erratic, be realistic with yourself to avoid food wastage. Therefore, start your week by eating perishable food items.
Do at-home workouts
You don’t need to belong to a gym or buy expensive gym equipment to get fit and healthy. There are lots of free workout videos on Youtube. Download them and get moving! If Youtube is too much for you; walking, jogging, skipping, dancing etc are free exercises that can be done in the comfort of your home. You have no excuse. Get moving!
- Identify your weight loss goal.
- Create a realistic budget.
- Choose budget friendly and readily available foods.
- Have a meal plan and go shopping with a list.
- Be creative with leftovers.
- Share this post with your friends on Social Media.