Cheap Ways to Get Healthy in Tough Times

I generally hate commercials but I gotta say that I love the Allstate commercial where the guy extols the virtues of staying home and playing Jenga. I know, tough times are by definition tough, and yet I’m seeing some amazing things happen in people’s lives as a result of these tough times. Yes, some people are experiencing some serious setbacks and financial woes, but other people are using the current situation to make some truly beneficial changes in their lives.

Surprisingly enough, a lot of people using this opportunity to get healthy!

How Do You Get Healthy in Tough Economic Times?
When people think of the word “healthy,” many think of spending money. You might have to spend money on supplements, a gym membership, or diet foods. That’s not going to work in an age where the jobless rate keeps creeping up. Instead, people are finding all kinds of ways to get healthy for cheap. Here are two fabulous examples to inspire you to think of ways you can get healthy without spending the big bucks!

Example #1: The Substitution Diet
One woman came to me for nutritional counseling and found herself in quite the bind. She was overweight and wanted to lose weight, but could not seem to do it by herself. She considered joining either a women’s gym or a diet program (like Jenny Craig), but when she looked into both options she found the monthly fees too steep for her budget. So she asked me for help.

I’m a big believer in small changes that make a big difference. I asked her to make a food diary for a week, which meant she listed everything she ate for a week. Surprisingly, even though she was overweight she didn’t eat as much as one would expect. However, the content of her diet was pretty poor and included a lot of processed foods and refined carbohydrates. She also ate a lot of pre-packaged food with low nutritional content. I asked her if she would be willing to do a little more cooking and give up 50% of her sugary snacks. She agreed.

We replaced 35% of her pre-packaged food with meals she cooked herself, and she bought 50% less cakes and cookies. With the money left over (about $50 per month), we started her on a low-cost but high-quality nutritional supplement. The supplement packets contained blue-green algae to give her energy and increase her metabolism, plus acidophilus, bifidus, and enzymes, which improved her digestion. The results are in and she has lost 11 pounds and feels better than she has in years. She doesn’t like to cook but her weight loss keeps her going. I give her kudos for persistence, frugality, and healthy living!

Example #2: Yard Man Extraordinaire
One of my buddies works an office job in a big city and he used to pay people to do his yard work for him (and believe me, he has a beautifully-landscaped yard). While his job isn’t in limbo, he’s decided to cut back on expenditures to save extra money for future contingencies. One of the expenses he cut was the money he was paying to the yard man. The other was his twice-a-month visit to his anti-stress counselor (he finds working in the city very stressful).

You can probably see where this is going. It turns out that doing yard work is the perfect intersection of saving money and stress relief for my friend, not to mention being a great physical workout. Not only has he gotten a handle on all the basic yard maintenance, like weed-pulling and lawn-mowing, but he’s even starting to build an amazing serpentine rock wall that literally has people stopping in his driveway to ask if he does rock-work for hire! Now that’s got to fluff his aura and boost his pride. In any case, should he ever find himself out of work, he can now always fall back on a second career in rock work!

Inspired yet?

I hope so. I’m so inspired that I’ve started tackling a ramshackle falling-down building on our property. The physical exercise is great and I’m saving megabucks by not paying day laborers to do the work for me.

So what about you? How can you use the current situation not to increase your stress level but to be a better, healthier, happier version of yourself? Got any ideas? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear about it!

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