Health on a Small Budget

One of the recent #fitblog chats on Twitter addressed some really good topics that I wanted to share here. I’ve written about a lot of these topics before and I’ll include those old posts here for new readers to catch up on.

The topic of getting and staying healthy while on a budget is a popular one. With the economy in the gutter and so many people without jobs, it’s difficult to rationalize spending money on things that might seem “frivolous.” Paying $50 a month for a gym membership is understandably ridiculous and maybe not worth the money. Never fear! There are most definitely ways to get into shape without a gym membership. So Don’t Break the Bank Getting Fit.

One of my biggest regrets when losing 110 pounds was how much money I wasted on clothes shopping. I had to buy clothes in smaller sizes every single month. That is not a complaint! I was definitely excited to be able to buy smaller sizes, but spending money on clothes that I only wore a few times was wasteful. There were even clothes that still had the tags on them that I never got a chance to wear.  I passed the clothes onto friends who were trying to lose weight, so in the end it wasn’t a waste. But my advice for someone losing a lot of weight: buy clothes at a second hand store until you’re at a size you’re going to be at for awhile.

Q1) What are your favorite budget friendly food staples?

My response was fruit and vegetables. One of my favorite things to do in the summer time is to go to the local Farmer’s Markets. There are too many in Portland to list and I’d much rather support small, local farmers than a big chain store.

Also, growing my own vegetable garden was a very budget-friendly thing. We had so much fresh lettuce that I had to give a ton of it away last summer. And it tasted so much better than anything I’ve bought from a store.

Other affordable staples are beans, rice, anything you can buy in bulk. Buying ground turkey, chicken and pork chops from Costco and freezing them was one of the smartest things we did. We always have healthy options on hand as a result.

Q2) What are some common misconceptions you’ve heard about your healthy way of living?

I once had a coworker ask me if I was on a diet because I was having an orange for a snack. I was shocked at the question and didn’t know really how to answer…I just said no, I like fruit. And it’s the truth. I’m so used to eating fresh fruit as a snack I don’t even think about it. Is it weird?

Q3) Let’s hear it… What are your go-to FREE workouts you don’t need a gym for?

This is where creativity comes in.  When the weather is nice in Portland (i.e. not raining), it’s easy to stay fit because there is so much to do! Hiking is a big one. The Gorge is about a thirty minute drive from Portland and packed with hundreds of scenic hikes to fit any fitness level. There are free hikes and ones that cost $5. Either way there’s plenty to do out there.

Mt. Hood is a good place for outdoor fitness too. There’s a ton of hiking there plus it’s a good place for snowshoeing in the winter. Once you spend the initial cost of a pair of snowshoes, it’s a free activity except for gas.

Bike riding is another good activity that doesn’t cost much. Commuting to work by bike is even better. Running outside or on a local school track is free. Not only that, if you have iPhone, download the FREE Nike Training Club app for some great home workouts.

Q4) Confession Time: What is one thing you spend an unnecessary amount of money on? How can you fix it?

My answer was my running shoes. A few years ago I got fitted for some running shoes at a local running store–which was free, by the way–and it was the best thing I ever did.  I had been wearing the wrong type of shoes for my feet, body and stride. Getting fitted is the best way to prevent running injuries.

I spend a ridiculous amount of money on my Brooks Ravenna running shoes because they are like magical clouds on my feet. They feel fantastic and are worth every penny. The shoes run around $100-120 depending on where I buy them and whenever I see them on sale I buy a pair. I buy new shoes 2-3 times a year as they wear out. Trust me, GOOD SHOES IS WORTH THE MONEY!

QUESTION: How would you answer these questions?


The Little Bit of Everything Post

First, thank you all for the support on my post about Hood to Coast. There were so many great comments!

Suzanne said: “Nice honest post, Lisa. You’re right, running is very hard on the body. The endorphins make it intoxicating, but I’ve found that high in other ways. My body just can’t take the pounding and it’s not worth it. I get a high from intense weight training and circuit routines. Most runners I know obsess about their “times.” I just don’t get it… I love planning and tracking my routines but I can honestly say I don’t obsess about it. Oh well, just my opinion.”

The Runner’s High is definitely addicting. I fell for it. And it changed the way I thought about fitness…all of a sudden nothing else compared to running because I didn’t get that same “high.” I wanted more. I wanted to feel like that all the time. Weight lifting, stair-master, nothing was like running. So I started to diminish the value in other activities.

Susan said: “Oh Lisa, I cannot put into words how much I GET this post. I did my first triathlon a year and a half ago. From my experience, people do races like these and get hooked. But for me, I finished and said “well I’m never doing that again.” I’m all for challenging yourself physically and mentally, but never when it puts your physical health at risk. Something I try to hammer into the heads of my clients all the time! I’m more about finding those few activities you truly love and doing them in MODERATION :) Excellent reflection xo”

The comment from Susan meant a lot because she’s a personal trainer. Honestly one of the first thoughts I had when I first got injured was “Oh my god if I’m no longer a runner what will I talk about on the blog? Who will read it??” But I found other things to write about and it ended up being a good thing!

AJ said: “I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve heard the same thing said about marathons and other long distance running events – people who loved to run before lost their passion or were too injured afterward. It’s great that you were able to accomplish something from your Bucket List and it seems the commitment was not only the preparation but the recovery too! Despite knowing how tough running can be – especially on my body for some reason! – a full marathon is on my Bucket List. I’m delaying it until I truly have time to train properly. 16 miles in 3ish hours IS epic! That’s amazing!”

I accomplished something pretty awesome by running Hood to Coast. Despite being injured, I do NOT regret doing it and I’m happy I ran it!

From Portland Running Co.

To be honest it made me feel really good to hear from other people who felt the same way–who felt like if they weren’t a runner doing races they weren’t part of the “cool club” in the blogging community. That’s not true. We all have a place within the community and it doesn’t mean we have to conform to the “norm” or the “popular.”

Onto bigger and better things…

Thank you all for checking out Michael’s first Guest Post yesterday! The comments were encouraging as well. I’m glad the topic was popular. Coming soon will be a post from Michael on how to choose the RIGHT bike.

Last night on the way home from work I stopped at the Portland Running Company to pick up my new shoes!

I got another pair of my favorite running shoes: Brooks Ravenna. They changed the look of the shoes (which is a bummer because they aren’t purple anymore) but I am happy to have a new pair!

Michael’s mom gave me a gift card to that store for Christmas. It was a generous gift and I was able to buy my shoes with it. While I was there, I also picked up one of these:

I’ve never tried one before and I hope it is beneficial to my problem. Maybe the combination of new shoes and the wrap I will be in good shape.

I also have two updates. The first: I’ve successfully completed week 1 of making my own coffee at work.

It was a bit of a pain the first two days but then it became part of my morning routine at work and it’s easy now. Plus I saved $6.25 this week just from not buying coffee!

Finally the last update: Michael was able to recover my old photos from an old computer! YAY!! He’s the awesomest boyfriend ever. Thank you babes. 😀

QUESTION: How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?