The Couponing Diet Plan

57 pounds lost so farLosing weight and saving money are the #1 and #2 New Years’ resolutions respectively. Allow me to create the latest diet craze by showing you how to do both at the same time.

Five years ago, when I started, I was obese. Many years of working at a computer, bad food choices, and a lack of exercise had led to the eventual outcome. At the grocery store, I made food choices like many people people do. While I tried to buy healthy foods, I ended up buying too much food impulsively based on what looked good and what fit the budget. There were many healthier products I would have liked to buy on a regular basis ““ but it was simply outside our budget.

As I started applying the highest value coupons with the best local sales, I found that I could get food for next to nothing ““ and pretty much anything I wanted. I began buying all sorts of food simply because I could get it for 80% off or more. This included high calorie, high fat, processed foods. You can imagine what happened. My health got even worse.

I had a breakthrough moment. I saw pictures of myself and I couldn’t believe what I saw. I decided that I no longer wanted to look that way and I didn’t care if it would take two to three years to get healthy. I would do it.

Here’s how some shopping became a real blessing. I donated nearly everything in my pantry that wasn’t part of my new eating plan. I decided that with little exception, I would browse my weekly list differently, focusing on the healthiest food for my family. I began a lower-calorie, low-fat diet while trying to avoid sugar and simple carbs when possible. I set a healthy calorie level for myself and I logged every single food or drink that I put in my mouth. It was a bit of work ““ but logging everything in my iphone app really was my silver bullet. I recommend using a free app or website like or I made myself accountable. Many times I’d skip out on eating something just because I didn’t want to have to write it down.

At the grocery store, I found that by buying more of the healthiest food at 50-70% off, our grocery bill hardly went up. One of the best parts of shopping with coupon-sale matches is that I had enough extra money in our budget so that we could afford the specialty foods we really needed (healthy, whole, unprocessed, and mostly plant-based). It also helped our budget that I simply didn’t eat as much as I used to.

Sometimes, I hear people exclaim that coupons are only for unhealthy foods. While it’s true that you could buy a lot of unhealthy food with coupons if you wanted, ultimately YOU decide what goes in your shopping cart. Just because something is 80% off doesn’t mean you HAVE to buy it for yourself.

Another thing to consider is when you are not brand loyal and willing to try different products in areas that you may not be as picky, you can save money. There are cleaning products, for example, that you can get on a regular basis for pennies on the dollar if you are using coupons matched to great local sales. Take the savings that you’ll get from less important products and apply it to the things you really want. If you want to eat only organic vegetables, go for it! Save more money on your plastic wrap, toilet paper, and all-purpose cleaner and apply your savings wherever you want. You can quickly add up an extra $40 in savings by shopping smarter.

The good news for health conscious consumers is that as more big budget food manufacturers and retailers get into selling healthy, whole, organic products, the consumer wins. More choices almost always means better options. With those big name food producers comes bigger budgets for coupons and we’ve been seeing plenty of them over the past couple weeks.

As for me, coupons allowed me to change my shopping habits. Technology helped me do that so much easier than trying to figure everything out on my own. The bottom line is that there are great deals this week on healthy foods for your family. Each week, you can find coupons that will allow you to buy premium products at wholesale prices.

As for the rest of my story? I also changed my exercise habits. As a result of the two lifestyle choices, I lost more than 50 pounds in less than a year’s time. I’ve run two marathons ““ which was unthinkable when I began my health journey. Better health equals more choices in life. Better savings information equals more choices at the grocery store for your budget. More choices at the grocery store equals healthier, higher quality food for your family in 2013.