How many of us want to be healthy and fit? I know I do. My husband and I make our health and weight one of the most important things in our lives. We want to live a full life and enjoy our retirement; not spend it in and out of a hospital. What we have found in our health journey so far, is that being healthy isn’t that hard. It isn’t impossible to look after yourself and treat your body well. It also doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There are many things you can do to be healthy that don’t even cost a penny. Here are 7 ways we’ve found that you can lose weight and get healthy for free.
1. Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. The amount of sleep you get can have a huge impact on your weight. Your appetite is regulated by a hormone called Ghrelin. This hormone is affected when you don’t get enough sleep. If you are sleep deprived, not only will you feel tired, but you will feel hungry when in fact you’re not. A study out of Stanford University found that adults who slept only 5 hours a night had increased levels of Ghrelin by 15% and lowered levels of Leptin, your appetite surpressing hormone, by 15%. This means that if you are sleep deprived, you end up eating more than you need to which results in extra pounds on our body.
2. Eat breakfast. It isn’t an old wive’s tale that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day.’ In fact it’s true. When you go to bed your body goes into a temporary fast. When you wake up in the morning it needs to be broken out of that fast. By eating breakfast you feed your metabolism the energy it needs to carry your body throughout the day. We have found that by eating breakfast our appetite is more stable throughout the day. We are less likely to snack and binge which prevents us from putting on extra weight. If you are currently not eating breakfast, try something simple to start like banana and peanut butter, or oatmeal.
3. Get more active. As impossible as it sounds, you should exercise every day. Now before you tell me your body can’t handle this or you don’t have time, listen to this. Being active does not always mean vigorously exercising. Make small changes to get more active. Take the stairs at work, walk after dinner for 30 minutes or at lunch if you can, or park your car far from the door when you go shopping. These types of things are a great way to compliment your usual workout routine. You should be exercising at minimum 3 days a week and these workouts should incorporate cardio, strength, and flexibiliy. If you would like to get started on a simple workout out routine that you can do from home, click here.
4. Eat throughout the day. Forget the rule of eating three meals a day. Instead, graze on healthy snacks an smaller meals throughout the day. Eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day keeps a steady stream of energy available to your body. This not only boosts your metabolism but it also boosts your brain power. Keep healthy snacks such as fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds, with you and eat smaller meals at meal times. Both my husband and I have been living this way for years and it has paid off.
5. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can trick your brain into thinking you’re hungry, so instead of reaching for water, you reach for whatever you can snack on. Water is free and calorie free so it is the best snack you can have. By swapping treats for water and then waiting 20 minutes to see if you are actually hungry is a great habit to get into. Everyone should be drinking 2-3 litres of water a day. Start carrying around a water bottle with you at all times to get you into the habit. Also refrain from buying juices and sodas. That way if you are feeling thirsty you will be more likely to fill a glass of water to refresh yourself.
6. Enjoy spices. Spices increase the flavour of food as well as increase satiety (feeling full). If you add spices to dishes to make them more enjoyable, you will be more likely to eat healthy meals. If your meals at home are boring and dull you are going to be tempted to get take out which isn’t good for your wallet or your waist. So, stock up on some spices and get cooking.
7. Get a hobby. Whether you enjoy reading a good book, cooking, or boating, hobbies are great for weight management. If you can make yourself busy and occupied with a hobby, you will be less likely to think about food and snacking. So next time you feel the munchies coming on, go grab that book you have been wanting to read and dive into it instead of making your way to the kitchen.
So there you have it; 7 ways we have been able to lose weight for free. Are you going to give them a try? If you do, keep us updated on your progress as well as any other tips you discover.
Eating throughout the day is something I need to really work on. Sometimes I get so busy, and all the sudden I am starving and shoveling the first food I come across in my mouth. I have been working on this a couple weeks now, and it is making a huge difference. I am choosing much healthier foods when I am just starting to get hungry instead of eating a quick food when I am famished.
@ Everyday Tips and Thoughts Congrats on making the changes to your eating habits. I am glad to hear that you are feeling better as a result. Keep it up and let us know about any other positive changes you make.
Thanks for the tips! My wife and I have recently focused on eating healthy foods and getting more sleep, and we’ve seen tremendous improvement in our weight. Now we are working on upping our activity!
Love your site by the way. It looks great!
@Life and My Finances Congrats on the results of your changes. It is amazing how much getting enough sleep makes a difference to our overall health, including our weight. Remember to start slow when you embark on upping your activity. Even try for a daily walk for 30 minutes and some simple yoga poses. Once you have that, then start increasing your cardio to jogging, or skipping rope, or jumping jacks.
AHH That might explain it!!! I have been sleeping much less than usual (thanks to my blog) this year and have also gained 5 lbs. I usually have no trouble losing it (summer is usually when I lose it) and have had some trouble this year.
Drinking green tea can also help boost metabolism. But I guess that’s not free. 🙂
@ Young and Thrifty Well hopefully you get back on track soon with your sleep. I am sure you will feel better when you do. Yes green tea is very good for you so if you don’t mind spending a couple dollars, then throw it in the cart.
My #1 tip – no TV!
It is so helpful to get moving and go for a walk then to waste time watching some show.
@ Steve Zussino Absolutely. TV has it’s place but I am of a firm believer you get your exercise in first.
Great easy tips! I need to work on the sleep part I am lucky if I get 5.5 to 6 hours
@ MJTM Most people only get about that or even less. It’s amazing how much better you can feel and function by just improving your sleep. I used to be a horrible sleep, maybe 3-4 hours a night. Now that I get a regular and decent amount my health has drastically improved. Good luck.
There isn’t much doubt that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We actually have breakfast for dinner a lot just because it is so good. 🙂
@ Kenneth I have heard that from others too. Eggs and toast is a quick healthy meal that you can whip up when in a hurry.