Thursday, December 25, 2008

Heath, Fitness, and Weight Loss

Why frugalhealthysimple? Well, this blog had a different life before now. At first, it was a blog just about frugality. But I didn't really spend a lot of time on it and it fizzled. Then I started thinking...what are my interests? Food, for one. When we married, I had about 100 cookbooks and dh had about 5...and I didn't even cook.

Well, I'm pretty interested in frugality. This comes from growing up poor. I had a brief spendy time in my 20's, and got re-interested in frugality in my early 30's. I never did spend more than a earned though. Living frugally gives us peace of mind and money in the bank for emergencies.

Why simple? Well, frugality and simplicity often (but not always) go hand in hand. I learned when I had my child to "keep it simple, stupid". As far as cooking goes, anyway. If it can't be made in less than an hour with minimal supervision, then it doesn't get made (unless on the weekend). In fact, 3-4 days per week, our evening meal is simply leftovers.

That moves on to healthy. I have been interested in health for a very long time. A few years ago, my mother made me a scrapbook of all the health and fitness articles I cut out of magazines when I was 16-18 years old. Wow. Even in my "fat years" (aka, 1997 to 2002), I was interested in health. I just didn't do much about it.

A big part of being healthy is simply maintaining a healthy weight. As most of us know, this may be "simple", but it's not "easy". We are constantly bombarded by food. Most of it not healthy. There are millions of items in the grocery stores these days - items that don't really resemble the types of food available when I was a kid. Over 66% of Americans are overweight or obese, and it's only getting worse.

I have had my struggles. From being a chubby teen, to my senior year of HS when I lost 27 lbs...bottoming out at 110 lbs. Boy, that was not a good weight for me. All angles and bones...and no period. There were fluctuations in college and in the Navy, where my weight was mostly healthy. Then, there was California and marriage. My weight quickly ballooned from 135 at my wedding to 145 a year later, to 158 after 6 months in California to 170 lbs just 6 months later. Whew. It topped out at 182 lbs before I started taking control in 2002. And not because I said "that's enough". I just decided to give Weight Watchers a try. (Who knew that I wasn't supposed to be matching my 6-ft tall husband bite for bite?)

Losing weight and maintaining doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some of my tips. Some are frugal, some not so much.

1. The internet - there are a lot of good places to go on the internet for health information. is a very powerful site based on the USDA food pyramid. You can enter your meals and they will rate them for you. There are lists of food, amounts, calories. - this is a free site (with software that you can download for a price), that lists foods and their nutritional values - vitamins, minerals, calorie, fat, fiber. If you are in to counting, or just want to know how much you are eating, this is a good site. If you like the site, then the downloaded software is even more powerful - you can build your own recipes and get the nutritional information. - this is another free site, like fitday, where you can track your food intake. The last time I visited, I noticed that it wasn't as easy to use as fitday, and fiber was missing in the food counts. They also have message boards and inspirational e-mails. I find that the regular emails that I get from them are very useful. It's a "healthy living community". - This is my website of choice. It's not free. It's about $17/month or so. Weight watchers is where I go when I need to take off weight. I used it to lose 57 lbs in 2002. I used it to lose the last 20 pounds of baby weight last year. And I'm using it now to lose the 5 lbs I gained on vacation this summer and the 5 I gained in November (2 weeks into it, have lost 5.4 lbs...only 4.2 to go).

I like weight watchers because I find the website easy to use, the point-counting system easy to master, and the message boards really supportive. And it works. - This is a site with personal interaction with a real dietitian. This is not inexpensive. I found it very helpful after I had my son to get a professional to LOOK at my diet and tell me where I was going wrong (chocolate and cheese). - This is a site dedicated to frugal living, and there's a FREE E-book on frugal health and fitness that you can download. You have to sign up for their regular feed, but I enjoy those emails.

Yahoo groups - healthycheapcooking - Nice group maintained by a woman in northern central PA, all about healthy cooking.

2. Books - this is where your library can be a big help. From healthy, vegetarian, and vegan cookbooks to books about exercise and healthy living. And free! Books that I've enjoyed reading recently:

The Omnivore's Dilemma
Refuse to Regain
Running and Walking for Women over 40 (I know I'm not there yet)
In Defense of Food
Eat Drink and Weigh Less (cookbook)
What to Eat
The Way We Eat
The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood
Vegan With a Vengeance (cookbook)

3. The gym - Not everyone has access to a gym. Not everyone can afford a gym. I find the gym to be very fun and motivating. And they occasionally offer classes on diet.

4. Adult education - cooking classes, health classes, aerobics name it, they've got it.

1 comment:

Thrivalista said...

Good round-up, Martha, thanks! I signed up for SparkPeople based on this rec. (But geez they want a lot of personal info!)
Another very good nutrition site is All of the content is free, you don't have to even register to access it, and they don't sell stuff. It's science-based (yay!), and my go-to site for looking up how to address health issues with nutrition first.