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This is it. This is the year. You’re going down two jean sizes. Or three! But you’re not sure how you’re going to be able to control your urges without some kind of diet pills, and you can’t imagine how you’re going to fit that into your already-tight budget.
Solve both problems (but save that money instead of using it on diet pills!) by being a better grocery shopper. How? Read on. Eat before you shop. You’re far more likely to make decisions based on logic and planning if you head out to shop for groceries on a full stomach. Suddenly those salty, fatty chips just sound greasy, and the bakery goods don’t have the same power over you.
Drink water, and (mostly) only water. One of the largest sources of “empty” calories are the things we drink, and they tend to wreak havoc on our budget too. Do yourself a favor and cut out soda and alcohol from your daily living. This does not mean that you can’t ever have any–say, when you go to a restaurant — but keeping them out of your house will cut your costs at the store and prevent you from casually having a few every day and sending your calories skyrocketing. Besides, drinking lots of water makes you feel less hungry, meaning you’ll eat less. Oh, and use filtered, not bottled. You’ll save money, help the environment, and drink better.
Get (healthy) snacks. It may seem difficult to give up potato chips and cookies, and I’m not saying you need to cut them out of your diet entirely, but try not buying them for a month and see how it affects your wallet and your waistline. Instead, buy things like dried apricots, nuts, and other trail mixes. You’ll still be curbing that snacky urge, but in a far healthier way.
Meatless Monday… or more. Americans love meat. Usually a little too much, and most of us could afford to eat quite a bit less of it. No one is suggesting you go vegetarian, but if you plan out your meals for the week, try including at least one meatless dinner and then building from there. You’ll spend less, and probably lose weight along the way.
Go fresh, go local. Before you go to the grocery store for the week, check out your local farmer’s market. If it’s a good one, you’ll find lots of fresh, inexpensive fruits and veggies, and possibly even breads, cheeses, and other odds and ends that can make for interesting meals. But more important is what you’ll be missing: all of the preprocessed snack foods, drinks, and meats. If you plan your weekly menu well, you might not even need to go to the grocery store, and just being there you’ll probably come up with some creative ideas for meals to avoid the foods you don’t want to use.
Did you make a resolution to lose weight in 2012? What strategies are you using to achieve your goals?
Juliana Weiss-Roessler has ten years of professional writing and editing experience. For four years, she managed the web content for the star of an Emmy-nominated reality series. Currently, she is an editor for the geek girl e-zine PinkRaygun.com, a contributor to the career blog at Resumark.com, and owner of the food blog CookFastLiveYoung.blogspot.com. Follow her @cookfast on Twitter and learn more about her work at WeissRoessler.com.