FoodNutritionPersonal HealthWeight Loss

Eating Healthy on a Budget

People have told me they cannot eat healthy on a budget. These same people think nothing of spending $13-20 for one fast food meal and get take out 2-4 times a week. This post takes portions of my grocery bill and splits it across the cost per meal.

Before the Store

This past week, we decided our meat-based proteins for the week would be chicken, turkey, and pork. Because we are two people wanting a variety in food instead of mass cooking the exact same thing for every meal, we go to the local grocery store. We also don’t have a deep freeze, so only purchase enough for the active week. If you are extremely budget concerned, look for deals in store and online. I would also recommend going to stores that sell in bulk, such as Costco if you are feeding four or more people.

For two people, we spent $28.70 to get: 2 small pork tenderloins (on sale for $6.55 total); 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts ($10.17); and 2 pounds of 99% lean ground turkey ($11.98). From a produce perspective, we bought one large can of diced tomatoes ($2.99), one package of mushrooms ($2.99), one large box of spinach ($3.99), a large bunch of asparagus ($5.79), and 2 broccoli crowns ($0.98). Other items we keep in the pantry include white rice ($3.99) and cans of veggies which we buy for as little as $0.69 per can.

Healthy Meal Planning

Sound familiar? It should. If you do not plan for meals, you are planning to fail yourself.

The three common meals I make are: chicken breast with a vegetable; ground turkey with veggies mixed in; and a breakfast base of scrambled egg whites. Here is a snapshot of my breakfast and lunch today:

Breakfast

Food Item Cost Purchase Quantity Meal Portion Meal Macronutrients and Calories Cost per Portion
Egg whites $4.99 32 ounces 6 ounces 19g protein
1g carbs
0g fat
88 calories
$0.63 (1 cup uncooked is ~6 ounces cooked)
Asparagus $5.79 1.5 pounds 1 ounce 1g protein
1g carbs
0g fat
6 calories
$0.24
Mushrooms $2.99 8 ounces 2 ounces 2g protein
2g carbs
0g fat
12 calories
$0.75
Ezekiel bread $4.49 20 slices 1 slice 4g protein
14g carbs
1g fat
80 calories
$0.23
Total calories: 186 Total cost: $1.85

Lunch

Food Item Cost Purchase Quantity Meal Portion Meal Macronutrients and Calories Cost per Portion
Boneless skinless chicken breasts $10.17 3 pounds 3 ounces 26g protein
0g carbs
3g fat
140 calories1 ounce is 47 calories
$0.63
Broccoli $0.98 1 pound 2.5 ounces 2g protein
5g carbs
0g fat
25 calories
$0.25
Long grain white rice $3.99 2 pounds 1/2 cup 2g protein
22g carbs
0g fat
103 calories
$0.28 (2.5 dry cups created 8 cooked half cup portions)
Total calories: 268 Total cost: $1.16

For dinner, I had the ground turkey mixed with diced tomatoes, spinach, half an avocado, and half a cup of black beans. This came to 308 calories (31g protein, 31g carbs, 8g fat) and $2.70.

My total meal spend today was $5.71 and 762 calories. While this is slightly on the low side, I have protein shakes around my workouts and this leaves me room for snacks, such as carrots or a banana. I also do meal prep for my husband who consumes almost double my portions. For him it is ~1500 calories and an $11.50 day. Total cost to feed the 2 of us is a little over $17 per day. Rounding up to $22 a day for coffee and the odd other item, this is a $110 work week for 2 adults. One person could spend this much on fast food in 5 days across 4-15 meals and consume 1310 calories in one meal alone.

Reasons or Excuses

  • Is it because you don’t plan when you go shopping? – write a list
  • Is it because you don’t measure portions when serving food? – buy measuring utensils and a scale
  • Is it because work keeps you busy? – make time…put time into your calendar if necessary
  • Is it because you have kids, who keep you busy? – make food time bonding time and pull the kids into the food prep and educate them on healthy eating choices

If you have kids, be the adult and shape the diet for the house. Don’t tell me that your kids will not eat (by choice not allergy) certain foods. If you need help with different flavors, find options such as Flavor God to mix things up.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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ActivePersonal Health

The Importance of Interacting at the Gym

For the first year at the gym, I didn’t like interacting with anyone at the gym. I had a regular weekly routine established that included commuting to the City on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and popping into the gym most of those nights. On Tuesday and Thursday, I was at the gym for cardio at 5am and back around 2pm for my session with my personal trainer. I was also in on the weekends.

How I Work

When I am in workout mode the gym, I tend to plug in to music and tune out the rest of the world. I have always been this way. What has changed over the past couple of years is my interactions with people and their interactions with me. As I was losing the weight, I started interacting more with the personal trainers and eventually some of their clients and other gym members. People also started chatting with me more and more because they were noticing my changes.

Why it Matters

Gyms can be intimidating. Pushing through personal and physical challenges is…challenging. Social interactions and human contact is very important for overall health. Based on personal experience, I would say it is even more important when you are unhealthy and trying to get moving at a gym. In previous gym-life experiences, I never interacted with people. I also never lost weight and I lost interest in going. The gym can be a fantastic place to establish a sense of family. A family to help you mentally disconnect from other daily stressors and bring up your endorphins.

Paying it Forward

When I am at the gym now, I make a point of chatting with various people before and after my workouts. Anyone who I know struggles to make it to the gym – either because they are older or struggling with health – I congratulate them on getting into the gym. When people compliment me on my work ethic and weight loss, my responses vary from a simple thank you, to a “you can also do it”, or tips to give them personal challenges. I encourage you – regardless of your personal goals – to not only join a gym to get moving, but interact with people and find some good gym friends.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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ActiveFoodNutrition

Losing Weight Is Easy

I never ever thought I would say or believe it, but losing weight is easy. Many people say they need to lose weight. Many more people have been told by doctors that they must lose weight, yet 46 states report obesity rates of over 25%. Like anything else in life, losing weight consists of parts, steps, or phases. Step one, which is definitely the hardest part, is mentally owning it. The most important aspect of weight loss is patience. It takes years to put weight on, so be patient to take it off.

My Moment

At my heaviest, I knew I had to lose weight. I didn’t have diabetes or any life threatening diseases, but I had overall body aches and wicked plantar fasciitis in both feet. I was also generally miserable. Sleeping was uncomfortable and very restless. Standing was impossible for more than 15 minutes. Walking – which I love to do – was 30 minutes maximum.

My “what the hell have I done to myself?” moment was the black and white picture taken of me during RSA USA 2016. It brought me to tears. I knew I had to do something and stop with the excuses.

Eating Less or Moving More

Joining the gym was the next step. I have joined gyms before and had trainers before. I have also done weight loss programs before. Both yielded partial results. Neither were performed at the same time. When I joined the gym in 2016, because I said my goal was to lose weight, my trainer discussed nutrition at every session. As my trainer pushed me physically, and my body was struggling to keep up, I started to listen. I didn’t think my diet was all that bad. I also thought that since I was moving more, the weight should simply fall off. Logging my food and discussing food choices and alternatives was a wake up call.

People that have been fit or healthy most of their lives do not realize how difficult it is for an unhealthy person to bring the world of nutrition and exercise together. Advertisers promote weight loss programs or gyms, but never do they collaborate. Why would they? The long term success rates of weight loss only programs have guaranteed continued revenue. Someone physically moving, but not changing nutrition for complete improvements guarantees continued gym memberships.

Reminders

  • Step one – mentally own it.
  • Ongoing patience is required.

It took me over 20 years years to hit 260 lbs, but it only took me 11 months to lose more than 100 of it.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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ActiveTrainingWeight Loss

Helping Me Get Lean – Testing Fitbit Coach

I have been a regular Fitbit user for over 4 years. My first Fitbit was the original device, which I used mainly to track my steps. At the time it was perfect. For Christmas 2016, I was gifted the Blaze. While I loved the watch, the battery started having problems after a few months, so I had to charge it every night. I honestly didn’t report the fault and decided to evaluate different options instead of reaching out for a replacement.

Current Device

For Christmas 2017, I was gifted the Ionic. As a Personal Trainer, I absolutely love it! For daily use, I have the main screen showing the date, time, my heart rate, and a rotation of steps, distance, floors, active minutes, and calories in a variety of displays. I use the timer and alarms daily for personal and client work outs.

Fitbit Coach

Today, I signed up for the Fitbit Coach. While I have my trainer kicking my butt 2-3 times a week, I am looking for more. My schedule varies from 60 to 180 minute chunks of time for me to work out. Within this window, I need to warm up, do a workout, cool down, possibly shower, definitely change, and get ready for my next appointment.

Why I Am Trying It

My biggest challenge is my 60 minute breaks. I have a few go to routines, but typically end up walking the treadmill for part of it or doing something involving crunches and push ups. For my program of leaning out with my Fitbit Coach, there are workouts ranging from 7-10 minutes, 11-15 minutes, and so on. Because my daily workouts are programmed around muscles used, I am happy that I can also specify the muscle focus.

I have already found my leg and core workout for the morning. This 21 minute workout will occur between a warm up (stretch, roll, and short treadmill) followed by a 30 minute treadmill cool down.

Look for me sharing my experience on Instagram.

Keli Hay is a certified personal trainer using her weight loss success to help others.

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