Everyone recently seems to be on a constant journey towards “a healthy lifestyle”. As if when they reach the golden gates of this revered place, everything in life will suddenly seem wonderful. But the clue is in the title really. It’s a lifestyle, not a destination.
I’m not here to preach about a saintly life and the sole way to achieve it. Healthy means different things for different people. For me, I feel healthy when I feed my body the right amount of all foods, including the sixth food group; chocolate. In return, my body feels stronger and energized. That’s what healthy means to me.
I don’t wish to wade too far into the debate on the connection between obesity and poverty. That’s not why I’m here. I thought I would just provide one example of how I live a healthy lifestyle, despite my student budget.
This is a typical week’s groceries:
I try to come in under £10 each week, but this time I had the gift of Nectar points so it all came to £8.48. There are certain tricks I’ve picked up since trying to improve my overall health that I think might help others. Firstly, I tend to buy more vegetables than fruit. They’re often cheaper, more versatile and better for you (vitamin-wise) than fruit. Secondly, I can’t afford the best of everything. I’ve made peace with the fact that nothing in my trolley is organic and I’ve moved on. Just because the items you buy are not the “best”, doesn’t mean they’re not a healthy option. Finally, the main rule I try to follow every time I go to the supermarket is to buy what I need and nothing more. If there’s nothing extra in the house, you can’t eat it. It also helps to keep to your allocated budget. There is nothing I can add about meal planning that hasn’t already been perfectly articulated elsewhere. Fail to plan, plan to fail!
As for exercise, I’m pretty low key. But I do feel that people override other benefits of exercise just because they are too focused on losing weight. Exercise is a good thing if you are trying to lose weight or not. Anyways, for my exercise, I run when I want to, because it’s free. My trainers have lasted since my school days where my mum assisted in purchasing things for school, so also free. I bought the jogging bottoms and sports bra in a Sports Direct sale earlier in the year, both for £10. My chosen t-shirt is from Matalan, costing £3. And the headband came from a pack from Primark, £1. I think £14 is the cheapest gym membership ever!
One more thing, there are people luckier than some others in this world. I may not have all of the latest gear, but when someone else does, you can borrow their older model. Being out of date has never bothered me when it comes to gadgets. At least I can still listen to Bruce Springsteen as I pound the pavements!
So that was my round up of what I personally do to try and be healthy. I do this to stay fit, to fight off illness, to live longer and to feel happy when I look in the mirror. All for under £10 a week. Now that’s thrifty.