Happy Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday everyone! I originally started writing a post titled “Happy Monday” but got a bit side tracked. I apologize for leaving you for a few days, but it’s been pretty crazy.

Friday night I went out line dancing with my mother at Saddle Ridge and it was a blast. My body media band told me I totally kicked ass! I had so much fun, I decided to go back on Saturday with my awesome friend, Maria.

When Sunday rolled around, I was pretty exhausted but I still managed to get to church and decorate the Christmas tree. A big thank you to my husband for taking care of the weekly meal plan and the weekly shopping (even if he forgot a few things).

Last night I had my monthly meeting for the Sexy and I Know It competition and I was pretty happy with my drop in weight. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 or 10 … the point is – the scale number is decreasing. I don’t know where I’m at in the competition, but I”m really happy I took part in the entire event. It’s truly helped change my life.

So Tuesday came in with a lot of drama. Without getting into specifics, by 8 a.m. I was fuming with anger and the thought of turning around in the work parking lot to go to the gym and burn some steam crossed my mind a few times. Simply put – I was livid. I didn’t let the stress become my demise though. At the end of the day, I headed to the gym and turned the anger into something useful.

In addition to some quality anger management, I met with Jackie tonight. As a goal, she’s challenged me to cut back on my grains. I know this is going to be tough, but I’m committed and I know I can do it. It’s just going to require a bit of planning in advance. I’m going to start working on my meal plans tomorrow.

I’m still picking away at my Holiday Bingo Card for the gym. I have about 6 classes marked off so far. Tonight I did Step and Abs and was promptly reminded why I hated the class. It’s truly just not for me! Tomorrow I’ll be getting up early to try out Yoga (let’s all pray I don’t hurt myself) and then back to the gym later for a circuit training class with the amazing Jackson.

I hope everyone’s doing well out there. I’ll do my best not to go M.I.A. on you again.

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Eating healthy AND saving money – it is actually possible!

Those that personally know me will tell you i”m a bit of a couponaholic. Who doesn’t love to save money? When we Dear Dietchanged our eating lifestyle, my coupons became a little less important but they aren’t completely non-existent.

Many people will tell you eating clean / paleo (for the record … if you want to “classify” my diet I’m somewhere in between those) will cost a fortune. Honestly, they aren’t lying. It’s expensive to eat healthy (and we wonder why there is an obesity epidemic), but with some careful planning and a little thought before you shop, you can keep the budget to a very reasonable amount of money.

It has taken me a few weeks to perfect my system, but I would say at this point I have a great plan to keeping healthy food in my belly and money in my wallet and it all starts with the sale ads.

Before we shop, I sit down with the weekly circulars and make a list of all the produce and other products that we use currently on sale, along with the price. When I create this list, I actually add it to a master spreadsheet I created in Microsoft Excel. It looks like this:

Store Item  Cost  Per Circular Date
Shop N’ Save Asparagus  $   3.69  Bunch 12/1/2012
Aldi’s Baby Carrots  $   0.69  Bag 12/1/2012
Shop N’ Save Blackberries  BOGO  Pint 12/1/2012
Shop N’ Save Blueberries  BOGO  Pint 12/1/2012
Foodland Boneless Chicken Breast  $   5.00  lb 12/1/2012

You might be wondering why I take this extra step to add my list to a spreadsheet, but it’s really simple. Unless you have the greatest memory ever, it’s hard to determine if the sale prices is an ok deal, a really great deal or just simply a few cents off.

Take the baby carrots on my list, I know at Aldi’s I can purchase this bag of carrots any day of the week for $1 so when I cheap eatssee it’s $0.69, I know that’s a good deal. You’ll also note that I put the circular date (well really the date I’m looking at the items) on the list as well. There’s a good reason for that – and that’s seasonal produce. In the summer, it’s not uncommon to see Grapes for just $0.99 but in the winter you’re likely to spend $2.69. When you include the circular date you can check the prices seasonally and compare.

It’s also worth noting that you’ll want to write down quantities and sizes (i.e. per pound, per item, per ounce, etc.). If you never knew this before … here’s a big tip for reading your circulars. Pay attention to the price and the size. Sometimes stores will offer the same item at different prices. For example, let’s say you want to buy a jar of tomato sauce. It might be 12 oz for $1.00 at the first store but $1.50 for 24 oz at the second store. Just glancing at the ad, one is obviously cheaper but store two is a better deal.

It only takes a few extra minutes and you’ll be thankful later because you will have a much better handle on the prices. It’s not terribly bad either because since I’m eating clean / paelo there’s only a handful of items that we need to buy and it’s primarily out of the produce section or the meat section. I save tons of time not sifting through the processed nightmare foods.

So once you filter through all the ads, look at the produce with the best sale prices and use that as a starting point. If you go to websites like Skinnytaste.com, Cleaneatingmag.com and the many others that list recipes, you can search by keyword (i.e. Peppers) and find recipes using those items. Do this for each day of the week and shape your meal plan around what’s on sale.

It takes a little extra time each week, but my budget appreciates it. With careful planning, eating healthy doesn’t have to eat away at your wallet.

If anyone has questions, feel free to let me know. I like sharing what I’ve learned with others so it can help them in the long run.