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How to Lose 20 Pounds in Four Months on a Budget

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Updated May 3, 2017

After gaining 20 pounds, I decided it was time to make a change.

Not going to lie.

Writing about money and being creative can consume so much of my energy that I forget to do anything else.

This is something I’m always working on because my goal in life isn’t to be sitting on a pot of gold or being the cheapest person alive.

My goal is to put myself in a situation where I’m financially comfortable enough to do what I want to do.

I had been meaning to get back into shape and putting it off.

I tried some small tactics here and there mostly to make myself feel better about “trying”.

LOSE-WEIGHT lose-weight lose-weight

I got an expensive membership to a gym one year. The weight didn’t budge.

I tried to eat better intermittently. By eat better I mean 90% cheat meals and 10% healthy meals.

Again, the weight didn’t budge.

But, something changed recently.

I got determined as hell. And that determination came from the last straw.

I was tired of how unhealthy I felt.

And I was noticing how the weight was impacting other areas. Like I purposely avoided social events because I didn’t look or feel like myself. I didn’t do as many outdoorsy activities and I love being active.

About three years ago before my wedding, I went on a complete crash diet. I stopped eating all carbs and dropped a great amount of weight in a short time.

It felt great at the time, but after my wedding I gained back the weight and THEN some when I went back to eating normally. In total, I gained over 20 lbs. and felt icky.

I knew this time around when losing weight I had to change my diet method.

Cutting all carbs and food I like wouldn’t be a long term solution.

So, I started making small changes like controlling portion sizes. The small changes added up to 12 lbs. of weight loss at first.

Within four months, I lost my goal amount of weight which was 20 lbs.

Of course, results will vary. But if you start working towards weight loss ASAP, you will eventually achieve your goal. (Unless, you have sorta health issue.)

If you’re interested in learning what I did, here are my 5 tips to getting in shape.

All of these tips are free, no miracle drug, tea, waist trainer, or diet plan included.

Keep in mind, I’m not a doctor this is just what’s worked for me.

 

How I Lost 12 Pounds, Then 19.6 Pounds and Finally 20 Pounds on a Budget (without giving up foods I love)

 

1. Download MyFitnessPal for Free

I use MyFitnessPal to track everything I eat.

Yes, that means I count calories.

The first time around I didn’t count calories and focused on eating clean. While I do still try to eat clean on my current fitness regime, I don’t eliminate all the good stuff from my diet.

That’s just not sustainable for me.

I don’t plan on counting calories for the rest of my life, but I realized through tracking my food that I was overeating throughout the day.

The problem wasn’t necessary the type of food that I was eating. It was just that I was eating waaaaay too much food. I’m getting a better handle on how much I should be eating for the day by counting calories.

What I love about the app is after entering your food and exercise for the day in the diary, it shows you how much you’ll weigh in 5 weeks if you keep up the same eating habits.

There’s also a section to track your weight, so you can watch it trending downward.

Boy, do I love that feature.

 

2. Calculate Your BMR and TDEE for Free

Losing weight is basic math.

Unless you have a medical problem that hinders you from losing weight, you can lose it with some simple determination.

Aside from tracking calories, you need to figure out exactly how many calories you should be eating. You can do this with a Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) calculator.

Your BMR is a calculation of the amount of calories you need to function each day without activity.

Your TDEE is a similar calculation, but it takes into consideration your activity level besides you breathing in and out.

Using these calculators you’ll figure out how much you’ll need to eat to maintain your current weight or lose weight.

Weight loss is a lot like a budget; subtract calories burned by calories you in take.

If you burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. If the opposite is true, you’re going to gain weight.

With this in mind, technically, you can lose without working out if you just monitor your calories, but…

 

3. Create Your Workout Plan

… I love working out, so that’s another activity besides calorie cutting that I’ve been using to get nice and trim.

It’s also a fantastic stress reliever. I live in a complex with a community gym, so my favorite method for fat loss is high intensity interval training on the treadmill.

HIIT is mega spurts of energy followed by a rest period.

On the treadmill, I crank the speed up to 9 to sprint for a minute and walk for two minutes switching back and forth for about 20 minutes in total.

If you don’t have access to a treadmill, you can also do HIIT right at home.

Here are a few YouTube examples of workouts you can do.

I also have a roundup of all videos here. Finding out what workout your body responds to is important. Keep switching up your workouts as well.

Your body will get used to a workout you do day in and day out and it will require less effort.

That means less calories being lost.

(Make sure you can manage it before doing any type of workout. You know talk to a doctor. The typical disclaimer.)

 

4. Lifting, Lifting, Lifting 

Even if you’re on a mission to lose fat, you want to start weight training to tone up muscle that you have underneath the fat.

Why?

If you overwork yourself with cardio, you could be losing fat and muscle definition.

Then when you slim down, you won’t look as lean as you’ll expect. It’s the muscle tone that begins to show underneath the weight loss that gives you the sleek physique.

You can simply use your body for muscle toning exercises i.e. push ups, sit ups, squats, lunges, etc.

For a few example workouts check out:

 

5. Understand How Your Body Reacts to Exercise 

A common piece of advice is not to weigh yourself every day.

I don’t agree with this piece of advice unless you get very obsessed with the number. I use it almost as a science experiment to see how different foods and exercise impact the journey.

For instance, I know what foods are problematic for my weight loss because of how I feel and weigh the next day. Since starting the journey, I have a pretty good idea of what I can and can’t eat (salty foods, starch after 6 p.m., too much cheese, etc.) to keep the momentum.

It’s a good way to be very methodical with your approach to this whole eating thing.

 

How This All Relates Back to Money Stuff

Again, I’m trying to find a nice balance between thinking about money and being happy and healthy.

I decided to turn my focus back to healthy and want to share with you in case it’s something you need to hear.

You can do it!

Also, know that there’s no miracle formula that’s going to make you drop an insane amount of weight that you can keep off with no effort.

Save your money.

And remember wellness is important.

If the mind and soul isn’t right, you can’t produce your best work, be as creative, or achieve your highest potential. I can clearly see a difference between my drive from before and after.

What about you? Do you have any budget fitness tips? Are you on a weight loss journey? If so, how’s it going?

 

— This post or page may contain affiliate links. Don’t worry, though. I only promote products that I’ve used or truly believe in.

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Taylor K. Gordon is a writer and money blogger. She writes on how to live your best life without going broke.

2 Comments
  1. Reply Aja McClanahan August 29, 2016 at 1:43 am

    Love this! I just started with weights last year. Now, I adore heavy lifting. Honestly, I gave up trying to lose weight, but I have lost inches, so I will take that. Haven’t weighed myself in awhile, but my clothes fit better, so it’s cool. Oh, and I do lift on a budget. I’ve spent the last 5-7 years building my home gym. It’s in a damp basement with spiders, but hey…I get it in!

    • Reply Taylor August 29, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      The whole losing weight is tough with weights too because of the muscle gain. But, I have a number in my head and I’m a little obsessed not going to lie. LOL and seeing Teyana Taylor in Kanye’s video has made me even more determined. Building your own gym is an awesome idea! What a good investment. I’m trying to make more investments in my health because we only have one body.

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