This is the third part in my little mini series called 'Dealing With Weight Gain'. The first part was all about how to deal with it in general, the second was all about blogger confidence and this part is going to be all about not breaking the bank in order to handle your weight gain. I posted the former two way way earlier on in the year (in fact I think one might have just caught the tail end of 2015!) so this post is something that I've been thinking about for just about forever.
I've been into the whole idea of 'clean eating' for quite some time now, and in fact my blog was originally based all around it, BUT after some time away from this life style, I came back to find that all of a sudden it was a lot more class based than ever before. I used to feel content eating my brown pasta with turkey mince spag bol - a meal that was both simple and, most importantly for me as a student, cost effective. However, in the last six months or so, all of my research into going back to 'clean eating' showed me that the game had changed. Brown pasta wasn't a think to be used anymore, and turkey mince? Well, you may as well just use plain old beef mince. Instead, simple changes seem to have been replaced with smashed avo on toast (grim) and a need to buy endless amounts of cauliflower so that you can use it as a base for pretty much anything. It really seems to have become a game exclusively for the middle and upper classes.
I know, I know, it seems like I'm being really cynical here, but for a while I totally bought into it, in all senses of the word. Soon I was a proud owner of gluten free organic soy sauce, and a tub of organic brown miso paste. Because, you know, I NEEDED these to make the recipes I was coming across. At the time I was doing online shopping because of the shifts I was working, and I started to find that neither Morrisons nor Asda could satisfy my needs anymore - it had to be Ocado, because no where else was 'good' enough to offer a massive range of organic food, or all of the niche ingredients I was coming across. The problem was that I'm neither middle or upper class, so I was totally grinding my finances into the ground with this belief.
Soon I found myself almost doubling my food bill because I had become so wrapped up in the idea that I 'needed' to lose weight and this was the only way to do so. If you've read my overcoming food fears post, then you'll know how much I hate trying new foods, so doing this all of the time was making me miserable. And guess what I turn to when I'm feeling rubbish? Junk food of course! So I ended up half eating super healthy food, and half scoffing away on takeaway and chocolate. This in turn then bumped up my expenditure even more.
As well as this, I came to the 'realisation' that I needed a gym membership - because obviously if I signed up to a gym contract which took another hefty fee out of my account each month I would have to exercise, right?! If any of you have done something similar then you'll probably know how it went down: I rarely motivated myself to go to the gym, but because I had the membership I didn't want to exercise at home, so I ended up doing precisely nada.
After a few months of this I came to the realisation that I'd pretty much been duped by the media into spending a ridiculous amount on trying to lose some weight, but in reality, all my waistband was doing was expanding. Clearly something had to change if I really did want to go back to a healthy weight for my size. So, I took my mind back to when I first decided I wanted to eat healthy, and considered what I did that was different, and realised that everything was so much less toxic back then. I could make myself simple, cheap, nutritious meals without feeling like I was missing out because it didn't contain a so called 'superfood' ingredient. Now I've had the time to look at what I was doing however, I feel like I've come to an understanding with myself that I don't need to feel pressured into buying silly foods I'll never eat just because all the health bloggers on Instagram love them. And neither do I need to buy an expensive gym pass. So, here are my top 5 things I'd keep in mind in dealing with weight gain on a budget:
1.) Stay realistic with meals. I'm a big fan of meal planning, but if I plan a day in which I'm hoping to eat smoked salmon on rye toast with a quinoa and pomegranate salad in the evening, I'm probably going to be grumpy at the end of the day and end up ordering out. Think about what your body wants and needs and find a simple way to keep things a little healthy.
2.) Shop around. Did you know that Aldi actually have a massive selection of fresh fruit and veg that's incredibly affordable (and even has a fairly decent selection of affordable organic ingredients!). We did our main shop here for a few weeks and legitimately halved our food bills.
3.) Keep things simple. If you don't want to spend three hours cooking a meal that you might not even like, then don't. Find something easy and filling that will keep you going without slaving over the oven. Don't feel as though you have to over-complicate things just because you see other people doing it on Instagram - you can't see what they're eating off-screen, and besides, who gives a fuck what strangers do?!
4.) Remember that exercise doesn't have to be expensive. Heard of Pokemon Go at all? Seriously though, me and my boyfriend downloaded it as soon as it came out in the UK and we've done more walking in the last few weeks than we probably have done altogether in the last year. I'm not even exaggerating here. If you're not a fan, then remember that there are tonnes of way to get your dose of exercise in, and you can even create a mini gym at home with a set of dumbbells and some Youtube videos!
5.) You don't have to keep up with all the fashion trends. Starting to have fewer and fewer items of clothing that fit you really sucks, and there's no way about that. But, if you've been gaining bits of weight here and there, then buying a whole new wardrobe every month or two is really not going to be realistic. Instead, keep your comfy baggy tees for time inside the house, and treat you to a new piece of clothing or two every month, rather than ALL the clothes. Plus, you can find some rare treats in charity shops for a fraction of what you would expect to pay for new clothes!
I really hope you enjoyed this post - let me know if it's been helpful!