Belt-tightening to a slimmer you

Picture: stock.xchnge

My resolutions are usually variations of the same theme – get fitter, get trimmer and manage my budget better (in other words build wealth).

This year, I’m going to put losing weight (or at the very least maintaining it) and saving money into a combined programme.

I figure that, if looking better and feeling better isn’t enough motivation to drop a few kilos, perhaps cold hard cash is the incentive one needs to revamp the diet and hit the street.

This first suggestion might seem counter-intuitive, but I am going to ditch my gym membership. I’m paying for a facility that I barely use but I hold onto because I like having “the option”. What a waste! I run, cycle and row – not competitively – but enough to keep fit.

And when the weather is miff I thank the Man above and stay in bed.

So if your resolution is to sign up in January, think twice. If you have a membership and use it, that’s a different story.

Boxed lunches

I know it takes time in the morning, but pack lunch for work – it’s cheaper and it can be healthier. You’d be surprised by how many calories are in a chicken & bacon caesar sandwich or a box of Chinese stir-fry.

Certainly more than the R28-R48 price tag is worth. So stock up on wholegrain bread, lettuce, tomato, tuna, chicken and cheese and that will keep you in lunches for the week.

Sit down to eat

Think about it: When you eat standing up you’re usually up to no good. I work from home and 11.30am will usually find me roaming in the kitchen looking for a nibble. The trouble is its invariably snacking before a meal, picking at leftovers, or mindlessly grazing on snacks.

This is problematic for your waistline and your wallet because typically you consume more calories of less nutritious food than intended. If you designate eating sessions for meals instead of snacks, you’re more likely to eat less and make better choices.

Eat half, or at least less, of what you were previously eating. You’ll have leftovers for another meal.

Drink more water

Cut back on the fruit juices, flavoured waters or fizzy drinks and replace them with water refreshed with lemon or mint. It’s the simplest tip that’s bound to make the biggest impact on your waistline and your wallet.

If you have to have a coffee fix, scale back on calorie rich lattes and cappuccinos and opt for a straight up Americano. And cut down on – not cut out – those deliciously frothed, cinnamon tinged store-bought coffees.

Plan your weekly menu

This is a bit of a schlep. But

in the long run you shop much more efficiently, you have less wastage at the end of the week, and you don’t have that last

minute dash to the supermarket for a missing ingredient.

v Grow your own

Plant a veggie patch – it’s incredibly rewarding. At the very least, grow your own herbs.

For the sake of my sanity I have omitted one suggestion – you could also cut out weekday drinking.

My wine with dinner is my indulgence and I’m sticking to it.

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