7 Ways to Stay in Shape on a Budget

The New Year has begun and with it, at least for many of us, come resolutions—the most popular being an improved health routine, combined with eating right and finally losing those extra pounds. Will this finally be the year of fitness success? We secretly hope so, but by March, most of us usually quit what we resolved to start!

Even though I personally make a commitment to stay healthy and fit every year, it’s certainly just as easy for me to to go days—and even weeks—without exercising. I have to admit that I hate almost all forms of traditional exercise, and I have too much of a sweet tooth to totally give up sugar. Plus, I just don’t want to spend money on things that I won’t use, like a monthly gym membership, the latest fitness DVD, or a refrigerator full of organic food that will go bad before I figure out a creative way to use it.

But before you deem me entirely hopeless, I have adopted some healthy habits to keep me focused and committed, and the best part is, they don’t cost a thing. So, if living a healthy lifestyle is on your wish list for the new year, keep reading—you won’t want to miss these tips!

1. Keep a food and fitness journal
I’m a journal junkie and my most recent splurge is a pretty notebook that I turned into a Food and Fitness Journal. With so many things being digital these days, there’s something about the act of writing down food and exercise that helps keep you accountable. Plus, since I keep the notebook right on my desk, I’ll always remember to fill it out!

With my journal, I keep track of all the foods that I eat, when I ate them, how I felt after eating them, and any exercise or activity that I did for the day. I also like to keep track of my water intake and sleep patterns to make sure I’m getting enough.

I used to track calories with My Fitness Pal which is a great digital alternative if you don’t want to go the paper route. For now, I’m pretty happy with the paper method and the way it allows me to record much more information than just calories or weight.

2. Workout with a friend
One of the best ways to keep myself motivated is to have a workout buddy to remind me of my fitness goal and keep myself in check. Whether you exercise with a friend or your spouse, your chances of sticking to a fitness plan significantly increase when you have someone to workout with.

3. Find an activity you love
While I wish that I could imitate people who love their morning run, the fact is, I’m not that kid of person. I’ve tried all sorts of couch yo 5K programs, and I finally admitted defeat. I’m not a runner and that’s okay!

If you’ve had similar thoughts, stop feeling bad about what you don’t like to do, and write down a list of activities that you do enjoy.

4. Get enough sleep
Not only does sleep give you the energy that you need to work out on a regular basis, it helps regulate your metabolism, repair your muscles and boosts your athletic performance and more. 
Try to get at least 7 - 8 hours each night and you’ll be a healthier, happier and fitter person overall.

5. Read health and fitness blogs
Whenever I’m in a health rut, I start reading my favorite fitness blogs to help motivate me again. Even reading weight loss stories and seeing before and after pictures can inspire you to get back onboard the health bandwagon.

6. Create weekly meal plans
I feel it’s so important to cook up your own meals at home, not only to avoid the eating out trap that can easily break your budget, but you’ll have more healthier meals.

I know that it can seem daunting to create a weekly meal plan, which is why I don’t plan by specific days, but rather 4-5 recipes for the week that I have ingredients for—or I’ll add them to my shopping list. Then I’ll have a few meals to choose from based on what I’m feeling like having for dinner that night, without sticking with a strict schedule. 

7. Start a health & fitness Pinterest board
To keep track of all the healthy recipes, exercise regimes and inspirational weight-loss stories to help you along your fitness journey, start your own Health & Fitness board on Pinterest. This will give you a one-stop shop of ideas to motivate you to eat right and stay active whenever you need to reference a new idea or switch up your routine.

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