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  • JessicaM

Keto....on a budget

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Here we are, the holidays behind us, facing a new year ahead. And if you’re anything like me, too often I realize that Holiday activities revolve around food. Yup. It’s not surprising that many of us are now here facing 2021 with a resolution to lose weight. On Jan 1, 2019 I made that same resolution I had done so many years before, and failed. But this time, I started doing a ketogenic diet and exercising. And on top of that, instead of “dieting” to a number on a scale, I changed my way of eating and determined success but how I felt. It finally worked. I stuck to it and lost 85 pounds. There’s really nothing magical about it other than understanding macronutrients and eating the right amount of fat, carbs, and protein. And it’s such a satisfying way to live, I’m hooked. And because I’m ultra-frugal, I’ve found some money saving tips to help you out as you embark on this keto journey yourself.

Tip #1 - Keep it simple. Stick to meats and veggies. And the best place to stock up? ALDI. If you have one in your area, or even within an hour or two drive, it’s worth going and loading up to freeze. Their meats are not only the best prices, but the best tasting too. I live for their rib-eye steak. Chicken breasts are insanely cheap, their bagged veggies are amazing. And their basics like butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, etc are just as delicious as your big-box grocer at a fraction of the price. People swear by Costco, but me? I’m an Aldi’s girl (without the membership fee!)

Tip #2 - Take a before photo. Trust me, after your weight starts melting off, you’ll wish you had one. As awful as you feel right now, just snap one.

Tip #3 - Grab some tools to measure your success, but don’t, I REPEAT DON’T, let your emotions hinge on these. Once your body is in ketosis, you can reassure yourself with ketone strips. They are pretty expensive at the local pharmacy, so I prefer to get mine online. These Smack It branded strips are my favorite! And if you want to make them go twice as far, cut them in half length wise. Double the value! But any ketone strips will work.

Measure your weight loss in both pounds and inches. But do not let either of the numbers you see determine your emotional success. Measure your success in how you feel that day. That shouldn’t fluctuate as much as numbers on a strip or a scale do. But over time, they will go the right direction. My favorite body measuring tape is the kind that locks into place around the circumference of your arms, legs, waist, etc. It’s a lot easier to get an accurate reading when measuring yourself by yourself.

Tip #5 - If you need to wean yourself off of sugar, find a substitute you love! My personal favorite is Lakanto brand “sugar”. (It’s actually monkfruit!) But it’s shocking how much it tastes like real sugar and doesn’t mess with my tummy like some of the others. I find that both Amazon and Costco (in store) seem to have the best prices. Stock up when you see it and use it like regular sugar. They also make powdered sugar and brown sugar substitutes as well as syrups and other yummy keto treats. And if you’re really lucky, and happen to be at a discount store like Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Homegoods, check the end caps and you might find Lakanto bags deeply discounted. You can also find sugar free coffee syrups there as well!

Tip #6 - Craving something? Google your craving along with the word “keto.” You’ll find there is a substitute for pretty much anything you love. And 99% of them are amazing. Start thinking in terms of what you can have instead of focusing on what you can’t. Make it a challenge to find a delicious keto sub for whatever it is you feel like you’re hankering for. And believe it or not, sometimes the keto version is better. I present exhibit A: Keto Lasagna which is better than regular. My husband agrees.

Tip #7 - Find online support groups founded in science and evidence. Don’t get sucked into gimmicks, pills, or anything but a basic understanding of reading a nutritional label and keeping your macros where you need them to be. And enjoy your path to health! My triglycerides, cholesterol, and weight has never been better.

Tip #8 - Get moving, but it shouldn’t feel like a chore. It should be something you love! I love to dance and joined the local gym and found a cardio dance class I live for. Since the lock down, I have been doing both Just Dance game on the Switch, and it does not feel like a dreaded workout at all. It’s a ton of fun and something I can do with my kids! Another wonderful doesnt-feel-like-you’re-working-out-when-you-are game is Ring Fit Adventure. It incorporates both cardio and strength training, custom tailored to you. And although I’m not new to working out, it still kicks my butt. So don’t discount it as a wimpy game. It’s a serious workout that will get your entire body.

Have you heard of the Peloton rage? Who hasn’t? But for those of us who want to save money, you can get the Peloton experience on a shoestring budget. How? Grab a tablet/phone and install the Peloton app and start a $12.99 subscription. Get a regular ol’ stationary bike if you don’t already have one. Sunny Health & Fitness brand on Amazon has great reviews and is very affordable! And grab a Wahoo cadence sensor to attach to your shoe/pedal and boom - you’re taking classes like your friends only saving around $40 a month on the bike membership and about $1500 on the actual bike. :) Can’t beat that!

Tip #9 - Don’t obsess. Just make this your new way of eating. You live here now, you’re not just visiting. It’s not a diet, it’s a way of life. Make it fun, challenge yourself to discover keto dishes you love. And enjoy doctor’s appointments again. My check-ups have never been happier! Cheers to 2021!

~Liz is a mom of two with a passion for deals!

You can find her deals at Coupons, Codes and Killer Deals

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