Whoo! Three days in a row! Don’t expect it to last over the weekend, but I’m trying really hard to get on here and write.
So Justin and I are trying to do things that are more healthy for us. I’m going to yoga two times a week. He goes running on days when I go to yoga. One of these days we’ll go running again together on an off day from my yoga class. We try to go at least for a walk, but we don’t always have the energy/motivation. Anyway, we weren’t really doing any of that before, so we’re working on doing better at that.
We’ve also been working hard to include a salad with every dinner. Now, they’re not always the most healthy salad once they’re drenched in a creamy dressing, but we’re working on that part. At least we’re including some fresh greens with the meals. And we’re trying to be more intentional about our meals. We know that we spend a lot less money on groceries when we plan out a menu for the week and less food goes bad because we never got around to eating it (especially salads lately, which was the biggest wasted food before). Plus, there are fewer nights when we sit down and go “Wbat do you want to eat?” “I dunno. What’s in the freezer?” And the freezer’s full of frozen stuff, but it’s stuff we got on sale and we do try to get things on the healthier side of frozen food. So, for example, instead of the pot pies that are sooooo good and something like 2000 calories a piece, we’ve got a pot pie mix that’s mostly frozen vegetables and not cream sauce and down to like 300 calories. Maybe? I’m not sure. But it’s *significantly* more healthy.
And if I’ve mentioned money a lot in that previous paragraph it’s because we are on a strict budget when it comes to food, both groceries and eating out. We looked over our finances and determined that the “low-hanging fruit” (to use a phrase from my Lean training) was to cut money from those areas. Other areas, like bills and regular expenses, aren’t going to change much from month to month. But the money we spend on food had huge variances between months. So we set a budget and we’re working very hard to stick to it. Because come hell or high water (it’s that strictly a southern phrase?) we are going to get out of our credit card debt. It’s our #1 goal right now, financially. So when we get to September, we will have money available to buy airplane tickets for November.
I heard an interesting thing on the radio on my way home tonight, asking the question whether people gain weight or lose weight during a recession. The guess by one of the people on the program was that people would lose weight, since, like us, people would eat out less often and eat at home more often. And eating at home it’s much easier (generally — more on that in a minute) to eat more healthy options than found at restaurants/fast food joints around town. Makes sense, right? Not eating fast food burgers or huge, sauce-covered pasta bowls with bottomless bread sticks would mean an overall reduction in weight.
But at the same time, it’s generally understood that people in the lower income brackets tend to have trouble with their weight. Because things like potato chips are cheaper than, say, apples. It’s really hard to keep a family fed in vegetables when frozen pizza and bologna sandwiches are significantly cheaper. So in a recession where people aren’t able to keep their homes over their heads, it seems like a lot more people would be forgoing the vegetables (even inexpensive frozen options) in favor of more cheap soup and sandwich options. Know what I mean?
Plus, this isn’t even getting into the side-effects of psychological distress, the depression and lack of motivation that would keep people sitting in front of their TV instead of heading to the gym with, while we’re on the subject, the membership that they can’t afford to pay for anymore. And the example the other guy on the radio program mentioned was the lack of money to pay for cigarettes ($12 for a pack?!) which would mean an increase of weight for anyone trying to quit.
So I think it swings both ways, but there’s a huge difference depending on the financial situation of the household in question. People who have the financial fluidity to be able to reduce their food budget and keep eating healthy foods might be more likely to lose weight while people who are on the less fortunate side might gain weight because the healthy options are just too expensive to afford. So figuring out a national average would require more understanding of the actual average financial situation of people right now. And that gets into things more tricky than I know how to get into.
Anyway, I thought it was an interesting discussion.