There's a dangerous misconception out there that only people who are rich and famous are able to be fit and active in their everyday life. It's an excuse that many use to justify their own unhealthy behavior or to pander to obese individuals in inner city communities who struggle with their health.
Over 42% of Americans are obese, and those were the numbers in 2017. Imagine how much that number has skyrocketed in 2022, two years into the coronavirus pandemic after gyms were closed down for months and people were locked in their homes with no end in sight. It's certainly safe to say that there's an obesity pandemic in our country, which is frightening considering the fact that the leading causes of death in America most commonly stem from obesity: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and many cancers.
Whenever we see a celebrity go through a massive weight transformation, such as Adele or Rebel Wilson, there are plenty of trolls who comment about how this change could have only been achieved because of their wealth and privilege. This is also the response when anyone dares to point out the fact that individuals from a lower socioeconomic status are much more likely to suffer from obesity. People actually believe that you have to be wealthy or famous (and thus well-connected) in order to have the tools you need to lose weight and get fit. This is a load of nonsense. Here are four cheap, easy ways to get your health on track.
Walk Outside Every Day
Walking is a seriously underrated form of exercise. We might think it's boring and useless, especially compared to running or cycling. But walking one mile burns the same number of calories as running one mile – it just takes more time to complete it. If you invest 30-60 minutes a day for a walk, you're well on your way to being fitter. Those minutes can be broken up into multiple walks a day, such as a morning stroll and a brief evening hike. As a fitness coach, I've had many weight-loss clients who lost 25 pounds just from increasing their protein intake and walking 10,00 steps a day.
Walking is a seriously underrated form of exercise.
If you don't have a way to track your steps (like a fitness watch or ring), that's okay. You don't really need to invest in one if you're short on cash. You can just make an effort to walk at least twice a day to prevent yourself from sitting around aimlessly and being sedentary. If you feel like you're very out of shape, you can begin with just one 15-minute walk a day and build from there. When you're feeling up to it, try to pick up the speed and walk a little faster each day. You'll be surprised at how tired you feel after a solid walk in your neighborhood. Plus, it's free!
Choose Frozen Veggies When You Can
Did you know that frozen veggies contain just as many nutrients and benefits as fresh veggies? Usually they're flash frozen when they're at their ripest so they retain all their nutrition. Plus, they're much cheaper. You body functions much better when you're getting all the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) you need, and much of that comes from vegetables. So if you're nervous about spending extra money on all that fresh produce at the farmers market, don't sweat it – head to the frozen section and grab a few bags of veggies to last you throughout the week.
Did you know that frozen veggies contain just as many nutrients and benefits as fresh veggies?
Of course, you'll also have to commit to eating more nutrient dense, whole foods in general. Just increasing your veggie intake while you're also eating fast food, processed food, etc. isn't going to generate great results. There are plenty of ways to grocery shop on a budget: stay away from already packaged foods (even if they're marketed as "health foods"), as they can be much more expensive; ask your grocer for the leftover, "ugly" produce in the back that they didn't put on the shelves; and find a local farm that you can directly buy meat or eggs from.
Track Your Daily Intake of Food
We don't realize just how much we eat in a day. You may be overeating significantly without even realizing it. The beauty of simply tracking your food every day is that you get a good sense of what you're eating and what your bad habits are. There are plenty of free apps where you can track your food, such as MyFitnessPal. If you track everything you eat for two weeks, you'll probably be shocked at what and how much you're consuming. Then you have your blueprint for what you should change in your diet, because you already know deep down what's good and what's bad for you, so seeing it all laid out in front of you can help with your future decision making.
Most of the time, when we think we're hungry, we're actually just thirsty.
Drink 100 Ounces of Water a Day
Last time we checked, water is free. Drink at least 100 ounces a day to improve your health and jumpstart your weight loss. Most of the time, when we think we're hungry, we're actually just thirsty. And eating when we're not truly hungry can lead to overeating and unnecessary snacking, both of which easily lead to weight gain. Drink at least 100 ounces of water a day to prevent pointless snacking and to keep your body hydrated, which will ensure the rest of your metabolic processes are functioning well. Getting a large water bottle isn't hard and it's pretty cheap. Order one off Amazon and get started.
It's a silly myth that getting healthy requires lots of money, private chefs, personal trainers, etc. You have all the tools you need to improve your physique and health. Focus on high-quality homemade food, walk outside as much as you can, and get lots of sleep. It's really not rocket science at the end of the day. All it really takes is a commitment and a desire to change your health – and that's worth more than any weight-loss coach can give you.