“Between those appetite-curbing supplements and healthy foods, I feel like I'm spending half my paycheck to lose weight,” my friend said, showing me a recent grocery receipt.
As a single mom raising two teenage boys and running two businesses, I can relate to tough financial decisions. At the same time, I don’t think becoming lean and healthy should cost a fortune, and designing a healthy, nutrient-dense, delicious diet can work within any budget.
Yet I must confess one big secret among nutrition and fitness experts: some of the most effective ways to become healthier and maintain fast, lasting weight loss are free.
Sure, they require effort and time, but with these five strategies you can become lean and healthy without paying a dime.
1. Do burst training.
Designer gyms and one-on-one trainers can add up quickly, but burst training, also called high-intensity interval training (HIIT), provides a fast, convenient way to get incredible exercise without equipment and without draining your savings account. HIIT consists of repeated exercise at a high intensity for 30 seconds to several minutes, separated by 1-5 minutes of recovery.
A hotel stairwell or park hill both make perfect free places to burst train.
Even one night of poor sleep can knock numerous fat-regulating hormones out of whack. You also become a cranky caffeinated mess more vulnerable to overpriced sugary pastries at your favorite coffee place. Aim for 7–9 hours of high quality, uninterrupted sleep every night to feel refreshed, focused, and optimally burning fat. To prepare for sleep, turn off electronics about an hour before bed, practice deep breathing or meditation, and allow your mind and body to unwind.
Unwinding needn’t cost a penny. Deep breathing or meditation can help you de-stress, and some community centers provide free yoga classes. Go for a long walk in nice weather, take a shower or listen to your favorite relaxing music.
4. Drink a lot of water.
Who needs expensive appetite suppressants when studies show water can help curb your appetite? Drinking tons of water while help keep you feeling sated throughout the day, leading to less snacking and smaller meals.
5. Practice mindfulness.
Many less-than-ideal eating decisions occur when we’re stressed, tired, semi-inebriated, or otherwise not completely in the moment. One study concluded mindfulness-based practices contribute to significantly greater reductions in BMI. Challenging though it may be to in our check-your-iPhone-every-two-minutes society, slowing down could be the key to fast, permanent fat loss, and it doesn’t cost a penny.
So there you go! These are my five tips to cost-free weight loss! I wish you luck on your journey!