I Lost 30 Pounds and It Didn’t Cost Me a Thing

This woman made sensible lifestyle changes and saw a big payoff.

I never expected to weigh 155 pounds. Over the years, my doctor had been giving me repeated gentle nudges to remind me that, in his medical opinion, my ideal weight was about 130 pounds. It’s not that I didn’t want to lose the extra weight, of course. I had tried and failed many times to do it, but I’d lose 5 to 10 pounds and then hit the dreaded plateau. 

In my quest to lose the weight, I had tried everything but nothing seemed to work. I did costly weight-loss programs where you track everything you eat and count calories. They are torture. You track every bit of food you take in, every minute of exercise, have weekly weigh-ins and essentially micromanage your weight loss journey. I found them depressing and tedious. 

Click to read more about cheap gym membership options to help you stick to your goals.

Finally, at my wit’s end and fed up with the traditional weight-loss paths, I decided to go it on my own. I promised myself no more spending money on programs that didn’t work or fitness equipment that sat unused. 

So, I started on a self-created program, using whatever I had around the house and the good ol’ outdoors to get myself moving.

How I Lost 30 Pounds Without Spending a Dime

I Got My Head in the Game

By saying a few simple words — “I am willing to change” — my life changed for the better. By getting my head in the game, I was able to push past previous fitness and healthy-eating blocks and plateaus. I used affirmations like: “I am strong,” “I am healthy” and “I am perfectly fit.” The most effective affirmation, though, was “I am willing to change.” When you’ve grown tired of being overweight, having your joints ache and looking like a swollen chipmunk, the most effective thought change is telling yourself you’re willing to change your circumstances. 

I Paid Attention to How Food Made Me Feel

Food allergies are a big deal. They can make you feel tired, cause inflammation and swelling, and clog your liver, so your body is unable to rid itself of excess weight and toxins. For several weeks, I ate normally and paid attention to how I felt when I ate certain foods. It was an eye-opener. All these years, I had been overindulging and eating foods that made me feel like crap.

Know: 8 Foods Under $5 That Fight Inflammation

I Started Eliminating the Culprit Foods

Caffeine makes me crazy. It amps up my nervous system so much, I feel as though I’m in a constant state of rushing panic. That’s not good when you’re trying to lose weight. The first thing I did was switch out coffee for green tea, which contains far less caffeine. Next, I noticed that dairy gave me pimples and irritated my digestive system. Buh-bye, cheese. Then, I found gluten was causing inflammation and swelling (especially in my face and arms), so I switched to whole grains, brown rice and quinoa. The last step was eliminating refined sugar. Let me say, I love sweets, so this was tough. But, by eliminating foods that were slowing my weight-loss progress, the pounds started to drop off much faster. I also had much more energy. 

Related: How to Eat Vegan on a Budget

I Hydrated Better

Have you ever reached for food when you’re actually thirsty? Most of us have made this mistake at least once. A big game-changer in my weight-loss journey was drinking a glass of water when I thought I was hungry. Ninety percent of the time, I was thirsty, not hungry. Water became my go-to beverage, and sugary drinks were tossed.

I Changed My Portion Sizes 

Everything in North America is supersized. I had no idea I had been eating enough calories to fuel the average man’s body. Yikes. I researched proper meal sizes and cut my portions (and grocery bill) in half.

I Worked Out Smarter (and Harder) and Did What I Loved

Do you hate gyms as much as I do? Running to nowhere on an indoor treadmill, or cycling while watching the traffic roll by? No thanks. On my self-created plan, I’d grab an old jump rope and jump for 5-10 minutes, and then do lunges and squats for another ten minutes to get my day going. At lunch, I’d never be at my desk; I took hour-long brisk walks. In the evenings, I’d get home and work out for 1-2 hours. But it was fun stuff: cycling outdoors, brisk 30-minute walks, sprinting, intervals–anything to get my blood pumping. I found these things enjoyable. Eventually, I worked my way up to doing 20K (nearly 12.5 miles) on my bicycle. 

Discover: What Running a Marathon Taught One Man About Money

In the end, I lost a bit more than 30 pounds, weighing in at 122 pounds. Without spending money on videos, weight-loss programs or special foods, I was able to weigh what I did when I was 18, and I feel fantastic. If you’re looking to lose weight yourself or just get healthier, find what works for you and go for it. Just remember, it doesn’t have to cost you.

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