If there are three things that most people can agree are positive, it is saving money, losing weight and helping the environment. At the same time however, given how busy everyone is these days, we often let one, two or all three of them go, simply because we feel we don’t have time for them. While busyness can make these things more challenging, it is certainly no reason to give up on those things that not only improve the quality of our own life, but of those around us as well. Here are several ways to kill all three birds with one stone instead of having to tackle them one by one.4 Ways to Lose Weight
Use More Foot Power-4 Ways to Lose Weight
Research has shown that in addition to lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and raising HDL (good) cholesterol, depending on your weight, speed, and incline, you can burn 100-200 calories or more per mile you walk. Furthermore, it’s totally free, requires no practice, training, or equipment, and burns no fossil fuels. If you live in a big city, you can save money on your daily grind by getting off the train or bus a station or two early and walking the rest of the way. For those who use a car, you can do the same thing by parking a mile or two from your destination, and then going the rest of the way burning calories instead of gas. Although it requires an initial investment, a bike can be used to do the same thing with even greater distances.
Drink Tap Water
Much like the effects of walking, the effects of drinking tap water are vastly underrated both for your health and the environment. In addition to lowering your risk of bladder and colon cancer, and relieving the most common cause of fatigue and headaches (dehydration), drinking water helps you to lose weight in a myriad of ways. It helps flush away the by-products of fat-breakdown, speeds up your metabolism, and makes your work-outs easier and up to 30% more efficient. It also reduces hunger because oftentimes the feeling of hunger comes from craving water, not food.4 Ways to Lose Weight
In terms of where you get your water from, contrary to popular belief, tap water is better than bottled water on a number of different fronts. In the states, tap water is regulated by the EPA, and as such is subject to regular checks for toxic chemicals and bacteria. As most bottled water is bottled from water near the distribution point, 70% of it never actually crosses state lines, and as such, a lot of it is actually exempt from the oversight of the FDA. As a function of this, the regulation of bottled water is actually less strict than that of regular tap water, and even major brands such as Pepsi’s Dasani have had toxic or carcinogenistic materials discovered in their drinks. Among 10 popular brands, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) found 38 different contaminants in the drinks, and even the bottles themselves have been found to leach plastic chemicals that can cause symptoms ranging from fatigue to weight gain.
Environmentally, bottled water produces 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year, (80% of which is not recycled), and takes 47 million gallons of oil to produce. Add this to the fact that that you are paying up to 30 times more per drink, and the 3 fold advantage of just drinking regular tap water become obvious. If you are unsure of the tap water in your area however, just buy an additional filter to fit over your tap.
Take Cold Showers
As unappealing as it may seem, talking cold showers is a great way to lose weight, help the environment, and save a few dollars while doing it. Studies by the New England Journal of Medicine have found that being cold stimulates healthy “brown fat” which generates heat and in the process burns unhealthy “white fat” and increases metabolism. In addition to saving on your winter gas bills, taking your showers cold can burn off as much as 500 extra calories a day. Furthermore, as you are not as likely to stand idle in a cold shower for as long as you would in a hot one, you will likely also save on your water bill (and waste) as well.
Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables
Yet another way to lose weight, help the environment, and save money is to grow your own fruits or vegetables. Researchers found that dieters who consumed more fruits and vegetables lost more weight faster, felt less hungry, and were more successful in lowering their daily energy intake than those who didn’t. For suburbanites with a backyard, fruit trees are an excellent option as they are available in a range of sizes (dwarf, semi-dwarf, and regular) and can survive in a range of climates. A semi-dwarf apple tree for example can produce up to 500 apples in a season, and has a productive life for 15 to 20 years. Over the course of 10 years, this means you could be getting true organic apples for less than a penny each. That means considerable savings over regular store bought apples, and even more so over packaged organic apples which can cost as much as a third more. This is also great for the environment as it means there is no packaging waste. Additionally, the tree itself will condition the soil, filter the air, and attract pollinators to your area.
For those who live in big cities or may not have a yard, fruits and vegetables such as figs, citrus, grapes, and salad greens can all be grown indoors, offering you healthy, not fattening, non-wasteful alternatives to processed, store-brought foods that have a lot packaging and high concentrations of refined sugar and fat.
While it may seem like there isn’t enough time in the day to be green, to trim your waistline, or to pinch a few extra pennies, none of these things are mutually exclusive. There’s no set rule saying that good things have to be done one at a time, and oftentimes one positive habit compliments or reinforces another. As such, even if it seems difficult to make the time for positive efforts, you may find that simply by trying to accomplish one, you can accomplish others as well. If not, then the solution may lie in actively searching out ways to synthesize your efforts. While this may take a bit of creativity on your part to do, you may be surprised with the kind of solutions you find. After all, as Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking that we used when we created them.”