Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Shopping on a Budget: How to Make Your Food Shopping Last

Image: Pixabay

When you’re eating healthily, it can seem like your food shopping bill raises considerably. The truth is, you’re probably just spending more in one go but will likely spend less in the long term.
When you’re not weight loss conscious, you likely spend more on those coffees during the day or the weekly takeaways instead of cooking your own meals.

But that still doesn’t help when you’re shopping on a budget. You want to keep your food shopping costs to a minimum and that means making the food last. Here are some simple tips to help you right now.

Bulk Buy and Freeze Portions

We spend about £20 a month on meat. How do we do that? Well, we bulk buy and then freeze them in the portion sizes.

We opt for the Morrisons three for £10 deals and look at the reduced sections whenever we’re in the store or at Asda or another supermarket. Doing this helps to keep our spending to a minimum just to begin with.

When we get the food home, we freeze everything in portion sizes for the two of us. That means opening the packets and using cling film to wrap them. We’ll even make larger meals than normal and freeze portions for later on in the week or month.

The last time we did a meat shop was two weeks ago and we still have a drawer full of meat to use up. Part of the help comes from not eating meat with every meal, but that still doesn’t account for the four to six weeks that the £20 portion lasts us.

Use Up Your Food First

Try using up all the food in your house before you do a shop. This is great if you’re shopping on a budget because you limit the waste.

If you don’t use up the food, it will likely sit at the back of the fridge and then go mouldy.

Struggling with ways to use it up? Try making a leftover stir fry with anything that is about to go off. You could also make a casserole or stew with your vegetables. Bake your fruit in pies and crumbles—there are plenty of weight loss friendly options to help your shopping on a budget.

Do the same with the freezer section. Just because its frozen doesn’t mean it will last forever. It just means it will last longer than the fresh stuff. Make sure those frozen vegetables and last month’s meatballs are used up before you buy more.

Make a List First

Making a list doesn’t just help your weight loss efforts. It will also help when shopping on a budget.
When we don’t write a list, we pick up things that we didn’t really need. And we forget the things that we do need!

Making a list means that you plan out the meals you’re making for the week and only buy items that are essential for them. You will also avoid the aisles that are the most tempting, which are often money wasters as well as weight gainers.

It will take some time before your shop, so you need to plan. We do ours the night before and through the month write anything down that we need to pick up on a whiteboard in the kitchen.

Do Your Shopping Online

When you’re shopping on a budget, doing it online could be really helpful. First of all, you can check the cupboards, fridge and freezer for food that you really need or don’t need. I did online food shops in the past and would sit in the kitchen and check everything beforehand in case I forgot it on the initial list.

This can also help you save money because you can find the cheapest option easily. When you’re in the store, there is the risk of missing the cheapest option. Usually, companies put them lower down or higher up on the shelves; of course, you’re going to look at eye-level!

You will also skip the sections where the tempting offers are on; offers that usually just get you to spend more money. These are often the unhealthy sections anyway and will just lead to you gaining weight. It’s so much easier to avoid the temptation when you don’t see it!

So, are you ready for your shopping on a budget? It is possible to make your food shopping last. It’s all about pre-planning and organizing your fridge and freezer so everything is ready to go. My biggest tip—and the one I always share when people ask—really is to buy meat in bulk and freeze it into portions to make it last longer.

Copyright Alexandria Ingham, 2014. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

My Weight Loss Experiment: How Much Does the Weight Fluctuate Throughout the Day?

Image: Pixabay
I decided to do a little weight loss experiment over the last two days. I wanted to see how much the weight could fluctuate throughout the day and whether there were certain points in the day that I saw my weight increase or decrease.
This wasn’t to help my weight loss efforts. I wanted to do it more as a point to others that you need to stop obsessing over your weight! It’s best just to weigh in on a weekly basis to see if your diet and exercise plan is helping you.

The Times for My Weight Loss Experiment

There were specific times that I decided I would weigh myself to see the weight fluctuations through the day. I decided:

  • ·         First thing on a morning—before and after the toilet visit
  • ·         Before and after each toilet visit
  • ·         Before and after each meal
  • ·         Two hours after each meal
  • ·         Before going to bed

Why these timings? Well, before and after is to see whether the contents of the bladder would help to reduce the weight at all.
Before and after each meal should be obvious too. It’s to see if there is a difference after eating. Two hours after the meal was to see if there was a fluctuation as the food started to digest.

The first thing on a morning is because that’s when the weight is most likely to be at its lowest. The body has been through a fast overnight. Of course, I also wanted to counter that with a weigh-in before going to bed.

The Results of My Weight Loss Experiment

I found that there are fluctuations but not that much for me. My scales are in kilos, and most fluctuations were just one kilo at the most. The biggest was the jump from first thing in the morning to the first meal.

As soon as my body started receiving food, the weight went up. And I expected that. There wasn’t that much of a change two hours after the meal though. Of course, during the day there are other factors to think about too. These include:

  • ·         Amount of water drank
  • ·         Any exercise completed
  • ·         Stress and other hormones
  • ·         Any medication taken

Weight Fluctuations Are Normal

Please do remember that fluctuations in weight at perfectly normal. That’s why it’s so important to weigh yourself at the same time each week.

I’ve been a little off track lately. It’s been a struggle to make it to my weight loss classes and that’s led to a lull in my motivation. That’s changing from now thanks to the scales at home. I’m going to get back on track, lose my holiday weight gain (I’ve gained 5lbs) and then get back to goal and lower.

I want to be really happy with my figure by Christmas to celebrate a year at goal.

Copyright Alexandria Ingham, 2014. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Get Back on Track After Time Off

Image from Pixabay

Recently I decided to take a month off Weight Watchers. I had a lot of things happening in my life and my weight had to take a back seat.

Sometimes, personally, I think that’s just necessary. You want to be able to enjoy a holiday or you may just have so much happening that concentrating on your diet is just too hard.
Now that that period is over, it’s time to get right back on the wagon. But after so long off it can be really difficult. Some long breaks can be long enough to get out of all the good habits that you got yourself into.

So how do you do it?

Go Right Back to the Start

I’m pulling all my Weight Watchers books out today and going to get straight back to the start of the plan. It’s all about tracking and measuring and that’s what I’ll do.

I didn’t make it to my meeting last night, so I’m going to weigh myself at home. It will at least give me a guideline of what I’ve gained in my time off. I’ll also take measurements because this time I plan to get back into exercise to help with some toning.

Getting back into it as if you’re starting over again can really help change the mentality. It is like trying something new and you can kick the complacency that occurs when being on a plan for a long period of time.

Set a Date and Stick to It

Saying you’ll do something “tomorrow” just doesn’t work. Tomorrow never comes. It’s so easy to put it off to the next day and the day after that.

It’s best to just set a date. There’s no “best time” to get back on track with your diet. The sooner the better. I chose Wednesday (today) because my weigh in day is a Tuesday night. I can just start a new week afresh. I made it clear which Wednesday I meant when I talked to my husband about getting back on track too.

Avoid thinking about events you have coming up. It is possible to lose weight and enjoy yourself at the same time. If I considered events that were coming up, I wouldn’t get back on track until September because of weekend things we have going on. The only reason events stopped me from tracking was because I was moving home! And that takes up so much time!

Join Support Groups

If you haven’t already, find a weight loss support group that you can join. These can be great because there are so many others following the same plan or have the same goals as you.

If you already have a support group, tell them about your time off and that you’re getting back on track. Have some goals and tell them about these goals. Speaking about them (or typing if you’re doing it all online) makes you more accountable.

Are you ready to get back on track after some time off? Put your effort into it and lose the weight that you want!

Copyright Alexandria Ingham, 2014. All rights reserved.