Brand New Start to a Healthier Me (And You!)

All the statistics say the same thing every year–the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. In my opinion, setting a goal weight by a certain date is stressful and can cause a major blow to your self-esteem. I’ve been there. I see the numbers on the scale say the same weight for a few weeks when I expect a loss, get frustrated and then my motivation goes out the window.

The smart thing is to set a goal that centers around a healthier lifestyle. For instance, rather than cutting out all junk food cold turkey, set a goal to eat an extra fruit (or at least one, in my case!) a day. Or stop buying white bread and buy whole grain or wheat (I’d do this but my hubby would freak out!) Once you stick to healthier alternatives, you’ll no longer want the junk you were used to!

I am personally setting a goal to work out at least 3 times a week. Hopefully, it will become normal for me and lead to other healthy choices and some weight loss. I have about 15-25lbs to lose but is that part of my resolution? NO! Because if all goes to plan, that will be the end result and I won’t be fussing over the number on the scale. As long as I reach my goal of exercise 3x per week, I’ve done my part.

One of my tools to keep me on track is the website SparkPeople.com. I stumbled across it a few years ago and highly recommend it, especially because its free! Every now and then I track my food and exercise but I rarely keep up with it….that is until now! I just joined the January Jumpstart Fitness Challenge that lasts 4 weeks and has a list of exercises to do each week.

As long as you log in a certain amount of minutes a week during January 7 through February 2, you will be automatically entered into their many contests. At the end of the 4 weeks, someone will be picked at random to win a Kindle Fire HD! Right now there are almost 32,000 members so there are plenty of people to interact with and keep you motivated. Come join me on the challenge and you won’t regret it! Let’s start this new year off right!

Grocery Shopping Tips

For some time, I thought I knew what it was doing when it came to grocery shopping. Then one day my husband and I went to a different supermarket than we usually do and I realized something–I only THOUGHT I was getting great deals but I could probably get a lot more product for the same amount of money if I only did things a little differently.

I used to throw out all of the supermarket circulars except for the one store I went to. I liked this store because they are the only one in my area that double manufacturer coupons. Little did I know, this store’s regular prices, as well as “sales,” are higher than some of the competitors in the area. I now take a good look at all of the circulars to stores in my area so I know where I can get the best price week to week. I just don’t want to go through any rip off process again.

Here are my tips:

1. Do your meal planning for the week based on what is on sale.
2. Make a list and stick to it!
3. Organize your list by section/aisle. It will help you get out of the store quicker without circling the same aisles over and over.
4. Try to use your coupons with on-sale items to maximize your savings.
5. Use coupons with items you were already planning on buying–You will spend extra money on non-necessities if you buy something just because you have a coupon!
6. Stock up on big sale items like deodorant, soaps and paper products to last until the next big sale.
7. Shop around at different stores to get the best deal.
-Ex. Although we typically prefer Stop & Shop, both Pathmark and King Kullen have an 8pk of paper towels on sale for $6.99 and I have a coupon for $1.00 off. I would go to King Kullen since they will double it making my paper towels $4.99
8. If you are using coupons, know the store’s coupon policy.
9. Don’t assume that you are getting the best deal at a store that doubles coupons. Their prices may be higher to begin with.
10. Try the less expensive store brands for certain products–many of them are the same quality as the top brand names.
11. Purchase very few frozen dinner items like chicken strips and pasta entrees, if any at all. It is cheaper to freeze your own meals than buying these “heat and serve” types of foods.
12. Buy frozen vegetables!–you can buy in bulk when on sale and they last a lot longer than fresh veggies, plus there is little to no prep required!

I’ll add more as they come along! For now, happy shopping!