Welcome to the “I can’t afford Jenny Craig” club! If you can’t afford to spend money on diet programs such as Jenny Craig or other diet plans, you are not alone. These budget friendly weight loss tips will help you find the strength, motivation, and energy you need.
Research shows that different people doing the same amount of exercise and eating the same types of food lose different amounts of weight. This is good news! If you can’t afford Jenny Craig, you’re spared from spending money you don’t have on diet plans that may not even work for you. Your body may not be built to lose weight the Jenny Craig way. This is especially important for people who don’t understand why weight loss can be so difficult (read 6 Ways to Deal With Your Girlfriend’s Weight Gain).
The Jenny Craig diet may not teach you how to live a healthy, light, joyful life. Losing weight isn’t about finding the right diet plan; it’s about listening to your body, learning what you need to eat to satisfy your physical needs, and taking care of your emotional and spiritual health.
I lost over 20 pounds without spending money on Jenny Craig, Lululemon clothes, gym memberships, Pilates classes, or expensive fat reducing kitchen tools. Even if I could afford or Jenny Craig diet plans, I wouldn’t. I’d rather spend spend money on travel, books, and new gadgets for my bike.
8 Ways to Lose Weight When You Can’t Afford Jenny Craig
The majority of people who lose weight and keep it off – without spending money on Jenny Craig – have tried more than method of weight loss. Try different combinations of exercise, portion control, weight loss groups, exercise buddies, etc. You may find that a weight loss support group works for you, or you might prefer working one-on-one with a nutritionist or doctor.
Commercial diet plans may help you lose the weight temporarily – and make you feel like you belong to a club that includes famous people who lost weight with Jenny Craig, but the weight will likely come back. Statistics show that the weight is guaranteed to return in one to three years. Then what? You’re back to square one: wondering how you can afford to pay for another round of Jenny Craig.
1. Pay attention to your body’s natural rhythms and programming
Our bodies are programmed to resist weight loss, which is why it’s so hard to lose weight. But you don’t need money to hire a fitness trainer, nutritionist or Jenny Craig expert. You can outsmart your natural programming by trying new fitness exercise programs or incorporating intervals (short, fast bursts of activity that are recently shown to be effective).
“All the popular diets can help you lose weight because they provide almost identical calorie intakes,” says nutritional biochemist Shawn Talbott, PhD, author of The Cortisol Connection: Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health – And What You Can Do About It. “But different people may do better on different diets because of personal tastes. For instance, if you love bread, don’t even think about trying Atkins…because it won’t work.”
2. Remember that food has more effect on weight loss than exercise
Eating the right food – in the right amount – is 66% of weight loss. Exercise is important, but what and how much you eat is more important in terms of losing body fat. Learn how to eat like a healthy, fit woman who listens to her body instead of following the crowd into fast food restaurants. You don’t have to spend money on expensive eating programs or weight loss plans.
Avoid weight loss supplements, diet pills, or dieting in general. Unless your doctor prescribes them, don’t take weight loss supplements or diet pills. I tried them when I was young, and they were a big waste of time and money. Plus, they can have unhealthy side effects. And it’s been shown that dieting doesn’t work for weight loss; instead, you need to develop long-term healthy eating habits.
3. Learn NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Time)
Keep moving, even when you’re watching TV or sitting behind your desk at the office. “Naturally thin people never stop moving,” says personal trainer Fawn Gill. “Even in their seats, they shift and fidget. This is known as non-exercise activity time, or NEAT.” Fawn says constant movement burns calories and raises the metabolism. Thin people are often fidgety, never staying still, always moving – and that is one of the best weight loss tips.
“Americans have a skewed vision of fitness,” says cardiologist Dr Michael Ozner, author of The Complete Mediterranean Diet: Everything You Need to Know to Lose Weight and Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease… with 500 Delicious Recipes. “They think they have to join expensive gyms, sign up for classes, or take precious hours out of their already jam-packed schedules to lose weight. Once again, misinformation has gotten in the way of motivation and good sense.”
4. Let yourself get a little hungry
Give your stomach a chance to empty out! When I was an overweight teenager, I almost never experienced physical hunger. I was emotionally starving, which is why I ate and ate and ate. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned what it feels like to be physically hungry. Now I love the feeling of being hungry, and I enjoy eating healthy food because I can feel it energizing my cells.
You can’t afford Jenny Craig, but you can afford to get a little hungry at least once a day. Learn the difference between physical and emotional hunger. I’m not saying you should starve yourself, but it is vital to know when you’re physically hungry versus bored, or sad, or angry. Eat to energize your body and satisfy your hunger.
5. Avoid the gym. Organize your own walking or jogging club
Fitness centers, health clubs, and gyms cost hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. Plus, many people stop going a few weeks after spending money on their health club membership. Fitness clubs and gyms count on the likelihood that most members stop going, at least regularly, after a few weeks or months. Yet they’ve paid a year in advance or are making monthly payments until the contract expires. If you don’t have money for Jenny Craig, you can’t afford to buy a gym membership. Exercise outside.
You might even organize a group of friends for daily or weekly walks, runs, hikes, or bike rides. This way you can be social and lose weight. Working out with friends will give you added incentive to stick to your exercise regime.
6. Trade your fitness DVDs and exercise equipment with friends
This is one of my best budget friendly weight loss tips: dig out your old yoga mat or Pilates DVDs. Trade them for your friend’s exercise ball or Wii Fit games. This is free, fun, and will keep you working out in new ways. The more you surprise your body by doing different types of exercises, the higher your metabolism will burn.
A 45 minute run or walk in the fresh air – especially through the snow, wind, rain, or hair — instead of a gym can burn more fat, improve blood flow, and keep your brain alert. Sunshine increases serotonin and vitamin D levels, which help balance your hormones and stabilize your weight. Be creative in your weight loss ideas, and you’ll never need to save money to go on a Jenny Craig diet eating plan.
7. Adopt a flexible natural eating plan, such as the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes (such as lentils and chick peas), whole grains, fish, nuts, unsaturated fatty acids (especially olive and canola oil) and sometimes even modest amounts of wine. This natural eating plan may also include low-moderate quantities of low or no fat varieties of dairy products and meat. There are dozens of different versions of the Mediterranean Diet plan; they all incorporate different sources and proportions of vegetable fats (olive oil, canola oil, and nuts), types of carbohydrates, kinds of protein sources (legumes, fish, chicken, eggs and lean meat) and quantities of alcohol (from none to moderate).
Being able to consume fat while dieting may make the Mediterranean Diet plan an easier way to lose weight. It’s cheaper than Jenny Craig, is largely plant-based, and is a natural for for grocery shopping, daily life, and even traveling.
8. Explore different budget friendly weight loss options
“When I started the Plant-Based on a Budget website, my goal was to teach people that it’s actually more affordable than a standard American diet,” says Toni Okamoto, author of Plant-Based on a Budget: Delicious Vegan Recipes for Under $30 a Week, in Less Than 30 Minutes a Meal. “And now, with my book, I’ve taken everything I’ve learned over the past 10 years and put it together to create a comprehensive guide to help people save their pennies while eating healthy. Everyone deserves access to foods that will enhance their health—regardless of their finances.”
“It’s not what you do once in a while it’s what you do day in and day out that makes the difference,” says Jenny Craig. That’s a good weight loss quote, but I like Joan Welsh’s better: “A woman’s health can be judged by which she takes two at a time – pills or stairs.”
If you can’t take the stairs two at a time yet, forget about Jenny Craig. Just start walking up the stairs one at a time. Step by step, you will start to feel better, lighter, healthier and happier!
Do you have trouble losing weight – no matter what diet you try? Read 8 Reasons You Aren’t Losing Weight on the Weight Watchers Diet.