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5 Tips For Eating Well And Losing Weight On A Budget

Eating Well & Losing Weight On A Budget- The Poor Man’s Weight Loss Diet Plan


One of the biggest misconceptions is that you must be affluent or dedicate ridiculous sums of money to be able to eat healthy, lose weight and keep it off. True, eating top of the line meats, produce and the like from high end supermarkets and organic type stores is not cheap, even here in the United States where food prices are on average far lower than in other countries relative to average income, but is it really impossible to eat healthy and lose weight while on a tight budget? Is the poor man’s diet plan inevitably one of low nutrient junk foods high in calories, fat, salt and sugar? It doesn’t have to be and eating well on a budget can be done successfully. While it is unquestionably true that cheap refined junk foods and low cost fast foods offer an affordable solution to those on a fixed income who need to eat without breaking the bank, and these food manufacturers and chains do everything in their power to remind you that you don’t have to spend that much to eat. However, you can eat well on a tight budget. I came to America with $500 in my pocket and a family, and I found a way even back then. for seventeen years, I worked with the formerly homeless on fixed incomes and taught them how to eat healthy, lose weight and maintain good nutrition without spending exorbitant amounts of money. I even held cooking workshops for them, and many cases, eating healthy was actually cheaper and helped them spend less on food overall than eating junk. It starts with a change of mindset. If you firmly believe that something is not possible or realistic, you will stop looking for solutions as you would have resigned yourself to failure. It’s an easy way out and the reason why so many claim that they can’t afford to get into great shape as it takes the pressure off you to be creative and not handicap yourself with past experiences. It does take work, but the opportunities are there and the more you keep working at it with a spirit bent on persisting until you figure out how to do it, you will certainly succeed.   That said, here are five well used tips to eat healthy and lose weight on a budget:



Eating Well & Losing Weight On A Budget The Poor Man’s Weight Loss Diet Plan- Tip 1

losing weight on a budget- eat breakfast at home

Eat Breakfast At Home

There is a saying back where I come from in the islands that a rich man brings his food while the poor man buys his foods out and that is why the rich man stays rich and the poor man stays poor. It’s pretty accurate as it is always far cheaper and healthier to cook your own meals and carry them with you to work than it is to eat out. A consumer review group found that as many as 37% of Americans adults ate breakfast at a fast food chain within the past month.[1] Not surprisingly McDonald’s was the top restaurant (if you can really call it that) followed by Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks and Burger King rounding out the top four national fast food chains frequented for breakfast.[1]. (As an interesting aside, people who eat breakfast at fast food restaurants tend to have active lifestyles and are 14% more likely than the average adult to belong to a health club and engage in regular exercise- so much for the idea of active people eating healthy!) The general cost for breakfast at McDonalds- which is the cheapest of the lot comes in at about $1-$5 (not including tax) depending on where you are in the United States. For those prices you can get some really terrible foods that will go a long way towards helping you start your day the wrong way (there is nothing remotely healthy about things like Egg McMuffins, hash browns, sausages, breakfast burritos or bacon, eggs and cheese made with the lowest grade food products possible and processed meats) . Now while their dollar menu dominates the morning meal battle by offering a fast and cheap way to eat on the run, it is still cheaper to eat better. But it will take a bit longer.

Here’s why- a perfectly balanced and nutritionally sound breakfast of oat bran cereal or oatmeal (old fashioned oats- not the instant or sugar added varieties), two egg whites and a banana tallies up to a mere $1.49 using organic bananas and free range eggs! A container of Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal costs $4.89 and yields just about 15 servings (they say 30 servings on the container- but no one would really eat that small of an amount in the real world) so figure about 32 cents a meal- a dozen organic free range large brown eggs cost $4.99 a dozen- which only sounds like a lot if you don’t factor in that two egg whites will cost you only 66 cents a meal. The bananas are organic and at 99 cents a pound would cost just about 49 cents for one. Of course, you could go even lower if you didn’t choose organic fare and keep in mind that the prices quoted are all from Fresh Direct, which is for the most part a tad more expensive than what you can find if you shopped around. Either way you are still eating breakfast for less than what you would pay for at Starbucks and the regular menus at McDonald’s, but you do have to watch your portions, which leads to the next tip on eating healthy on a budget:


Eating Well & Losing Weight On A Budget- The Poor Man’s Weight Loss Diet Plan – Tip 2

losing weight on a diet portion control

Eat smaller portions

One of the first things that I noticed when I came to the United States is just how large the portion sizes are. I remember well ordering at a restaurant and being amazed at how much food they piled on my plate, it was at least twice as much as I would have got at a restaurant back in the West Indies! In general, few people realize that you really don’t need to eat as much food as they do and that eating less is not only healthy but will save you money. Knowing how much is enough is not an easy task and studies have consistently shown that most people are unable to accurately estimate their food intake. It is so difficult that a study involving nutrition students that had been rigorously trained in food energy content found that even they had a low level of accuracy (18.5%) in figuring out the caloric value of several foods set in front of them. [3] Also you don’t want to go down the road of measuring your food and counting calories as it can become a bit obsessive and has little to do with a natural way of losing weight. So how do you know how much is enough? Simple, you use my rule of thirds for losing weight.

The rule of thirds- First when preparing your meals, always give yourself one third less than your regular serving. It isn’t that hard to do, but you are in one move cutting your calories, ensuring that you don’t overeat and reducing your food bill by 33%! The second part of my rule of thirds is to imagine your stomach as divided into three equal sections. Now whenever you eat you always leave one third of it empty.

As simple as this may seem, these two easy methods of self-regulation have helped everyone from housewives to physique competitors that I have worked with over the years get into optimal shape and it is a simple way to accurately regulate your dietary intake without depriving yourself. It also helps you cut down on your food expenses by eating less. As a result, you will have a little more money to spend on better quality foods.


Eating Well & Losing Weight On A Budget- The Poor Man’s Weight Loss Diet Plan – Tip 3

Losing Weight On A Budget Meal Prep

Cook Your Meals And Bring Them With You

We already covered how much cheaper it is to eat in than eat out when it comes to breakfast, but keep in mind that the healthiest of restaurants for lunch or dinner can never be as healthy or cost effective as the food you make at home. (See my article- How to Eat Out & Lose Weight- the Restaurant Guide) The convenience of being able to grab something on the go is appealing, but to get a really good meal, you will pay more buying from a health focused restaurant- and you don’t really know if the food is as healthy as they claim it to be. Chains like subway create the illusion that somehow their foods are healthy- but for the most part, they are not. As for fast foods- they might be easy to get and inexpensive, but keep in mind that you are paying for food- not nutrition and that your body will always want more as it isn’t getting what it needs. Also, the price you will pay in medical costs resulting from obesity and the slew of metabolic related diseases that come with it such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension is a hidden cost in every cheap meal. So, what do you do when you don’t have that much to spend on food- cook and carry!

The best way to afford good quality food is to cook all your meals for the week on the weekend and portion your meals out (using the weight loss rule of thirds) into Tupperware containers that you refrigerate and take with you when you need it. A simple meal consisting of organic chicken, brown rice and lentils can cost as little as $4.05 [2]- which is even less than what it would cost in some fast food chains! An organic chicken costs about $14.00 (I know it sounds like a lot but trust me it is worth it as all chicken isn’t exactly chicken!) which would yield let’s say four servings (even less if you are under 180 lbs. or not very active), which works out to $3.49 per serving. Basmati brown rice costs about $4.29 for a 2 lb. bag, which is about ten servings (the label says a ¼ cup per serving which would yield 19 servings, but ½ cup is a bit more realistic) which comes to 42 cents a serving. Add lentils to give everything some flavor and it adds only 14 cents to the total.

You can make these prices go even lower by following these rules:

  • Buy in bulk whenever you can- you’ll spend less per serving.
  • Avoid uselessly pricey meats like skinless boneless chicken breasts- a whole organic chicken usually costs as much as two or three tiny cutlets and who said you only had to eat chicken breasts to lose weight? Eat the whole chicken!
  • Don’t shop hungry- you’ll buy stuff you don’t need.
  • If there are farms near where you live- go straight to the source to buy. Farmers are people and you can always strike up a relationship with some of them and not have to pay extra for the transportation and middlemen that it takes to get their produce to the markets!
  • Grow something. A small home garden is a good idea for anyone trying to stay on the straight and narrow path of eating well on a budget- the bigger the better, but a small plot on your windowsill is good enough.


Eating Well & Losing Weight On A Budget- The Poor Man’s Weight Loss Diet Plan- Tip 4

losing weight on a budget drink only water

Drink Only Water.

That’s right- stop the coffee, stop the juice and for your own good stop the vitamin water and sports drinks. (Don’t worry about not getting your vitamins by avoiding juices- as you can get more than enough from fruits and vegetables, but with healthy fiber and without the excess calories.) Drinking alcohol is a great way to spend a lot of money on something that will make you gain weight and pretty much negate most of your diet and exercise endeavors and cutting it out will not only help your wallet but your waistline.  The only fluid your body needs is water and if you live in most parts of the United States tap water is fine- most of the bottled water you drink isn’t that better than what comes out of your faucet- it just has millions of dollars in advertising behind it designed to make you think it is. I am always astonished by the number of people that say that they can’t afford to eat healthy and yet ‘treat’ themselves to a Starbucks coffee once or twice a week. At about $5 a week that is $260 a year or two months’ worth of healthy lunches! Take into consideration how much we spend on juices and the dental fees that accrue because of tooth decay and you can clearly see that there are hidden costs involved. Drinking only water will also reduce your caloric intake significantly and you will see a major and permanent reduction in your body weight and body fat if you make the switch and follow the aforementioned guidelines.

To make it work always carry a bottle (not plastic if you can avoid it- we do also have an environment to keep healthy) with you. Don’t spend money on vending machine drinks (or water) and keep refilling it from the tap or water fountain if you have one. Don’t fall into the bottled water trap. Americans spent 15 billion dollars on bottled water in 2006, that’s more money than we spent on iPods or even movie tickets! [4] All for something that you can get for free! No study has ever found bottled water to be healthier or better for you than tap water- so put the money you save towards better quality food.


Eating Well & Losing Weight On A Budget- The Poor Man’s Weight Loss Diet Plan- Tip 5

poor man diet tip- slow down

Slow Down And Change The Way You See Time.

You might wonder what time perception has to do with eating healthy on a budget, but it has everything to do with it. We live in fast paced society where every second is supposed to count, and convenience has long triumphed over quality. It is the way we see the world that enslaves us as most of us make food choices with the idea that we don’t have enough time to cook, or enough time to find a healthy food alternative or even enough time to leave our desks to sit and have a proper meal. The average American over the age of 15 spends only 67 minutes just eating and drinking and 16 minutes a day eating while working, watching TV or doing some other activity [5, 6] figures far removed from that of our European counterparts who place more importance on the idea of sitting down and enjoying a meal. Four percent of us reported never spending any time just eating or drinking but doing so only while engaged in work or some other activity. It is this very mentality that creates our unnatural perception that our food needs to be something quick. Studies have found that the faster you eat, the more likely you are to overeat[6,7], so don’t make eating a race. Everything comes with a price and fast and convenient food comes with a price that no budget can handle- the price of your health. The price you pay in taking the time to plan and cook your own meals not only saves you money, but will go a long way towards helping you achieve the type of body that you can be proud of, and how priceless is that?


My Budget Home Gym Setup Recommendations

Anyone following along knows that I have a pretty impressive home gym setup, but as nice as it is to have all this equipment, the fact is that you don't need very much in order to make progress if you are training at home.

Which is why my number one recommendation is a pair of dumbbells. Maybe a barbell as well, but that's really all you need.

I trained for about a year during the lockdowns with just a pair of dumbbells and a barbell and was able to make tremendous progress, and to this day I universally recommend and provide dumbbells to my online training clients and they have made some great gains as well.

So if you are thinking about training at home, start small and keep it simple. Thanks as always for watching and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#homegymsetup #dumbbells #trainathome #trainingathome #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingvideos #homegymlife #homegymequipment #homegymrat #homegymideas #homegym #personaltrainer

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High Intensity Training- Negative Leg Extensions!

The negative, or eccentric, phase of any resistance movement creates the most micro trauma and thus stimulates the most growth and strength increases.

As such having someone pushing down in the lowering phase can REALLY up the intensity of your training.

This was my last set and my training partner and Naturally Intense Personal Training Senior Trainer @egcitrin is pushing down as I lower the weight and (and is it just me or is she pushing more and more as I go along?)

But I don't stop there.

On the 12th rep I execute an isometric hold for a count of 5 seconds with Erika actively pushing down before ending with nine punishing final reps!

I think I was sore for at least a full week after this but still training and hope you are too!

And as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #hometraining #homeworkout #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingtraining #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #legextensions #legday #legworkout #powertec #legdayworkout

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Avoiding Injury As A Natural Athlete- Just Do This!

As a natural athlete, whether your goal is bodybuilding or body transformation, everything happens slowly and over very long stretches of time.

To that end, it is of the utmost importance that you prioritize not getting injured, as an injury can slow if not completely curtail your ability to realize your goals.

That being said, most people, when something hurts, just power through it, as there is this misplaced belief that there are some exercises that you need to do.

Squats, deadlifts, barbell bench presses and the like may be excellent exercises, but if it hurts, don't do it.

Or better yet, do something else to build yourself up to a point where you can do them, but there are times when some of those mainstay movements simply might not be for you.

Now for some, saying everyone can't squat or deadlift is heresy punishable by ridicule, but they won't be with you at the physical therapy sessions, and they will still be training while you are out.

If it hurts, don't do it, even if your favorite influencer swears it's a necessity. There are hundreds of alternatives, and your job is to find what doesn't hurt while recruiting the most muscular activation and sticking with it.

Do that and you'll save yourself a lot of pain and you'll realize your goals much faster as well. Stay safe while training and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #bodytransformation #nodrugs #weighttraining #listentoyourbody #avoidinginjury #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuilder #fitness #fitnesstips #nosquats #injury #injuryprevention #trainsmart #sustainabletraining #nosteroids #naturalbodybuildingvideos #excelsior #highintensitytraining #fitover40 #personaltrainer #bodybuilding

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Why Exercises Won't Get You A 6 Pack!

One of the most common questions I get asked is what exercises I do for my abs and my response of

"Absolutely none whatsoever" is often received with some sense of disbelief, but it's the honest truth.

I don't do any direct exercises for my abs and haven't since the mid to early 1990's because I already had a foundation from years of truly grueling ab work and having a six pack is directly proportional to what I eat, not what exercises I do.

My abs get plenty of work from the squats, rows, deadlifts and other compound movements that I do and I can prove, having not done crunches, leg raises, planks and any of that for the past 28 years or so that it's 100% diet.

If you want to have great abs, the exercise you need to master is walking away from the foods you shouldn't be eating.

My diet is and has been one of precision for a very long time, and it's what I eat and how I eat that allows me to always have a six pack, nothing else.

The good news is that everyone already has a six pack, you just have to get rid of the fat deposits above it for them to show, and if you put your mind to it, stay disciplined and avoid processed foods entirely, it can certainly happen.

So watch what you eat and focus on your diet if you really want that six pack and Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#sixpack #sixpackabs #6pack #6packabs #absmadeinthekitchen #everyonehasa6pack #abs #noabworkout #naturalbodybuilding #personaltrainer #drugfreebodybuilding #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #muscularity #naturalbodybuilder #timededicationsacrifice #excelsior #focusontheprocess #dothework #diet #abs

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I Only Train Three Days a Week.

That's right.

Just three days a week with short high intensity training based workouts and it allowed me to compete successfully as a natural bodybuilder, and it's how I have trained and how my personal training clients have trained for the past 30 years.

The biggest problem in training is a lack of dedicated experimenting.

Everyone goes along with the training programs espoused by the most popular, without questioning the fact that the top figures in the fitness industry are all on steroids, and as such their methods may not always be best for natural athletes.

There are many reasons to consider low volume training but most importantly is that it allows for training sustainability.

Three days a week is far more doable long term than 4, 5, 6 or 7 days a week.

And I can tell you for a fact that it has been tested time and time again, and it works if you work it.

So give training less some consideration and as always, Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#train3xaweek #highintensityworkouts #naturalbodybuilder #trainlessexcelmore #trainsmart #sustainabletraining #competeatthehighestlevels #nosteroids #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingtips #excelsior #highintensitytraining

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Lever Arm Presses 595 for 28 Reps!

High Intensity Home Training.

The (Titan Fitness) @betitanfit Lever Arm setup on my @roguefitness Monster Lite Rack and my @powertecfitness Utility Bench is a godsend in terms of adding variety to my home training.

It feels very much like a Hammer Strength Machine Press and the best part is that you can not only angle it to get the most out of the pectoral contraction, but that you can put the weight up at a point where it really feels heavy all to but the end of the movement.

For this movement I pyramided up to the most weight I could put on and decided just to go. No plan in terms of reps, just get to that point where it really starts to scorch and then keep going!

I don't think I ever got this many reps in before but I felt strong at the start and what I do know is that I was unnaturally sore for at least a full week afterwards!!!

Still training, hope you are too and Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #highintensitytraining #highintensitytrainingtips #roguefitness #betitanfit #UnleashYourTitan #ryourogue #hometraining #homeworkout #roguerack #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingvideos #naturalbodybuildingtraining #naturalbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #leverarms #chestday #chestworkout #powertec

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New Video: Why I Stopped Training In Public Gyms!

Click on my bio link to find out why!

In March 2020 after 31 years of training in gyms, I began training at home and have been training here ever since. Which is surprising for someone like me given how much I benefited from training in a gym environment, but over the years things have changed and not necessarily for the best.

Commercial gyms are a far cry from what they used to be and I began to feel over time that training in a public gym was starting to be detrimental to my overall progress.

Yes, it's more convenient to train at home.

Yes, there's no commute involved.

And yes, I can collapse on the floor after a workout and not have to move (which is really nice, by the way!!!)

But that's not the main reason why I stopped going to gyms and I can honestly say that I may never set foot in a commercial gym again.

Click on my bio link to see the full video and find out why!

Thanks as always for taking the time to look at my work and Excelsior!!! #naturallyintense

#gymlife #homeworkouts #fitness #trainathome #gymalternative #nomoregyms #gainsathome #naturalbodybuilding #naturalbodybuilder #naturalbodybuildingtips #fitover40 #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #homegym #hometraining #homegymlife #homegymsetup

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How Long Does It Take To Look Like A Natural Bodybuilder?

The journey to get that muscular physique you see on an impressive looking natural bodybuilders isn't easy and it doesn't happen overnight.

It takes years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice even with good genetics.

It took me well over 12 years to do it myself, but the best part is that YOU CAN DO IT!

You don't need drugs, you don't need supplements, you just need dedication and consistency.

But you have to keep in mind the fact that it won't happen overnight.

So, as I always say focus on the process. do the work and Excelsior! #naturallyintense

#naturalbodybuilding #personal trainer #drugfreebodybuilding #natura;lbodybuildingtips #naturalbodybuildingmotivation #muscularity #naturalbodybuilder #timededicationsacrifice #excelsior #focusontheprocess #dothework #tenyears

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Please note that all material is copyrighted and DMCA Protected and can be reprinted only with the expressed authorization of the author.

Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, Kevin Richardson’s Naturally Intense High Intensity Training have helped hundreds lose weight and transform their bodies with his 10 Minute Workouts. One of the top natural bodybuilders of his time, Kevin is also the international fitness consultant for UNICEF and one of the top personal trainers in New York City.


References for Eating Well & Losing Weight On A Budget- The Poor Man’s Diet:

  1. Scarborough Research, Scarborough USA+ Study, Release 2 2009
  2. Fresh Direct website fetched 9-2010
  3. Japur CC, Diez-Garcia RW. Food energy content influences food portion size estimation by nutrition students. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2010
  4. Fast Company Magazine- Message I a bottle- Charles Fishman
  5. Bureau  of Labor Statistics 2006 American Time Use Survey and ERS 2006 Eating & Health
  6. Kokkinos A, Roux CW, Alexiadou K, Tentolouris N, Vincent R, Kyriaki D, Perrea D, Ghatei MA, Bloom S,Katsilambros N. Eating slowly increases the postprandial response of the anorexigenic gut hormones, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010
  7. Maruyama K, Sato S, Ohira T, Maeda K, Noda H, Kubota Y, Nishimura S, Kitamura A, Kiyama M, Okada T, Imano H, Nakamura M, Ishikawa Y, Kurokawa M, Sasaki S, Iso H.The joint impact on being overweight of self reported behaviours of eating quickly and eating until full: cross sectional survey. BMJ. 2008


Kevin Richardson
Kevin Richardsonhttps://www.naturallyintense.net
Featured everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to CBS News, celebrity Personal Trainer NYC and with over 2.6 million readers of his blog, Kevin Richardson is the creator of Naturally Intense High Intensity Training, one of the top lifetime drug free bodybuilders of his time, the first International Fitness & Nutrition Consultant for UNICEF, 2020 and 8 Time Winner of the Best of Manhattan Awards for Personal Training and a world recognized authority on high intensity training. Kevin has helped thousands, from celebrities to CEO's over the past 30 years achieve their fitness goals with his 10 minute high-intensity workouts done just three times a week in conjunction with his holistic nutrition approach. You can learn more about about his diet and training services at www.naturallyintense.net

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