Know What You Are Dealing With
One of the first ways to find real change is to find out where you stand. After all, you can’t really know where you are going until you are really honest with yourself about where you came from. Think about it, how can you achieve your dream house if you are uncertain about your finances? How can you plan for college if you don’t know what your current grades are? How can you plan your next vacation if you aren’t sure that you will have enough time off of work?
Your health is no different. When it comes to making real changes in your health you need to take a true look at where you are now. This doesn’t just mean looking at what you are currently putting into your body, it also means looking at where you stand with your budget and food expenses.
Many times people fall into the trap of not being prepared for the cost that comes with their new eating habits. They tend to get excited about getting the outcome that they want and they forget to factor in any financial steps that they will need to take to get there. When this happens it is not uncommon for someone to lose steam in their weight loss journey and eventually give up on that journey all together. The good news is that this doesn’t have to happen. You can ‘have your cake and eat it too’ so to speak. In other words, you can get healthy and stay on a budget, you just have to get a solid understanding of where you are right now.
To start, make friends with your grocery bill. Don’t assume because you are staying in the same price range every week that you are being successful with your groceries. Look at each item and see how much you are spending on each thing. You can even take it a step further and make a chart to determine how much you are spending on each type of food (produce, meats, etc.). If something doesn’t follow the paleo diet, give yourself a ‘credit’ for that item as you likely won’t be eating it when you are paleo and you can therefore add it back into your budget.
You also don’t want to be afraid to shop around. It is never a bad idea to start making a list of the items you buy frequently and how much it costs at different stores. Even though the thought of hitting two or three stores for groceries might not be appealing, over time you will start to settle into a routine and you will be able to get into and out of each store much faster.
Once you have a rough idea of the cost of the items that you are buying, it is time to make sure that you are planning meals that fall into your budget. A good rule of thumb is to try to have two or three meals a week that use similar ingredients, this way you can buy just one item and use it in a variety of different ways, saving you a few dollars in the process. So let’s say that three nights of the week you are making a paleo meat covered with paleo sauce. If you are making a different sauce each of those three nights, you are going to be spending a lot more on ingredients than you would if you decided you would eat paleo barbeque sauce all three nights.
While starting a healthy eating journey can seem intimidating it is important that you have a good understanding of what your starting point is so that you can better set yourself up for success.