PROFILE: Kristin Malm
CITY: New Orleans, LA
How do I stay healthy on my part-time near-minimum wage budget? With a little creativity and a lot of planning.
Trying out a habit before I committed to it, helped me get this far into a healthy lifestyle. I got to see what worked for me then adopted habits, and to the degree, I knew I could stick to with a little planning and wholehearted commitment.
- I drink water constantly. Water has no calories and is free, making it the best drink for my waistline and wallet. The many health benefits water has were reasons enough to give up sodas and almost all supermarket fruit juices. Check out these creative ways to increase your water intake if you’re looking to add this habit to your lifestyle.
- I get my beauty sleep. A consistent bedtime schedule helped to transform my sleep habit — and my daytime fatigue. Getting 7 hours 30 minutes sleep every night leaves me more focused, alert and productive than I was on 6 hours. I now have less cravings and it’s easier to resist them when they happen. Probably the biggest bonus of more sleep is that I now have the energy to workout.
- I eat frozen fruits & veggies. In an ideal world, I’d always eat fresh fruits and vegetables, but for me, now, that’s just not possible. Frozen fruits and veggies are my budget-conscious alternative. For an on-the-go meal, I can quickly blend some frozen fruits with plain yogurt in my Bullet to make a smoothie. I usually top them with some Goji berries or seeds. When I do a smoothie bowl at home, I like to add a few slivers of almonds or seeds like pumpkin or Chia seeds. Seeds are a great source of minerals, like calcium, zinc, copper and magnesium, and have plant-based proteins.
- I’m picky about proteins. When people think of proteins, they think meats, but being on a tight budget, it’s hard to splurge on steak. Adequate amounts of protein though, helps to keep our muscles strong, so I’m sure to get my daily allowance. I get my protein from protein powders (goes great in those smoothies too and only cost about 50 cents per serving), Greek yogurt, eggs, milk, soy milk, cottage cheese, and chicken (my main meat source). Quinoa, tuna, peanut butter and beans are some other fave affordable alternatives.
- I got enthusiastic about exercise. It can be hard to motivate yourself to workout if you’re not a gym person or if you hate exercise as a matter of principle (guilty), but finding something that’s not boring to you can make it easier. I’ve been doing CrossFit for a while now and the enjoyment factor keeps me motivated. I look forward to my classes all week. The rest of the time, I walk (about 3 miles a day). Not as much fun but I’ve come to accept some times, I’ll have to rely on the gym. When the weather is dreary, it’s a better option than skipping my workouts.
One of the most important things we’ll ever do or attempt is healthy living. I once scoffed at it but after seeing how much being healthier has helped me with everything else, I’m committed.
At this point, I consider myself moderately healthy; about a 6.5/10 if we’re using a 1-10 scale to rank me. Using Vurb’s incremental approach to change, I’ll aim for a 7 or 7.5/10 next and work to make that consistent before trying again.
Changing in this way and making sure I’m loving (or at least liking) the choices I make, helps me to stick to them.