In a previous post I shared 12 Reasons a Bad Economy Can Cause You to Gain Weight. You pay a steep price when you respond to financial (or any other source of) stress with overeating and inactivity. You’ll likely see a decrease in your vitality and productivity and an increase in the cost of healthcare and incidentals like new clothing. But enough doom and gloom. By becoming more aware of your reactions, you can choose to respond in more effective (and economical) ways.
The Bottom Line
Here are a dozen ways to keep from having to loosen your belt while you tighten it:
- If you’re facing a financial (or any other) challenge, use it as an opportunity to reassess your priorities. Isn’t your health your most valuable asset?
- Practice mindful eating; you’ll eat less by enjoying it more.
- Treat yourself to small quantities of high quality foods; for example savor one square of imported chocolate instead of scarfing a whole bag of a bargain brand.
- Learn to cook or teach someone else how to. It costs less and it’s a great way to spend time with your family passing on valuable skills to your kids. (Shameless Plug: You may be interested in my daughter’s cookbook called Veggie Teens at www.VeggieTeensCookbook.com.)
- Try new healthy recipes. Surf the Internet for recipes for ethnic foods, use of new ingredients, or new ways to prepare familiar foods.
- Take your lunch to work. You’ll save money and calories.
- Entertain at home; light candles, put on beautiful music, and use your best dishes. Follow dinner with a long walk, a great DVD, or game night.
- When you eat out, share meals or take half home for a second meal. Most restaurant serving sizes are large enough to make every meal two-for-the-price-of-one.
- Maintain or start a balanced fitness program. It’s a great stress reliever and will increase your energy and improve your outlook.
- Exercise doesn’t have to be expensive. A few ideas: walk with friends, bring your dusty exercise equipment in from the garage, check out fitness DVDs from the library, or take a yoga class at a community center.
- Instead of reaching for food, build your inventory of other coping strategies such as journaling, talking, reading, playing music, painting, praying, and meditating
- Don’t skimp on healthful ingredients. Fruits and Veggies:
Buy in season; shop farmer’s markets; join a co-op; grow your own; buy frozen; add plenty to soups, stews and pastas to stretch your meal and your nutrients.
Whole Grains: Buy brown rice, oatmeal, cereals and other whole grain products in bulk or economy sizes. Shop for whole grain breads at bakery outlet stores and club stores (bread freezes well).
Low Fat Dairy: Buy generic/store brands or buy name brands on sale; buy economy size yogurt and transfer to single portion containers as needed; shred your own cheese.
Lean Protein: Experiment with a variety of dried beans and lentils; have eggs for dinner; buy lean cuts of meat on sale and freeze for later.
You may not be able to control economic inflation – but you can prevent your own!