High food prices hamper efforts for a healthy diet

By Vanessa Pringle

Vanessa Pringle is only halfway through her weight-loss challenge but has nearly achieved her goal of losing 12kg. But it hasn't been without obstacles.
First off I want to say how much I appreciate my trainer Brett for all his advice, support, fun, tough love and for making me work my butt off with no excuses.
Also big congratulations Brett for the loss of 10kg. So far after three weeks we have lost 20kg between us - what an amazing effort.
As you read last week, food is a huge part of weight loss and now I want to show you why my wallet is always empty.
Food is such an expensive commodity and we cannot live without it.
It has become a massive eye-opener for me as to why our society struggles to feed themselves and their family in a healthy way.
I did an experiment the other day and tried to make myself a healthy meal, which would consist of chicken or fish with salad, for $5.
It proved impossible and I was not able to buy a complete meal but for that $5 I could buy a 1kg bag of frozen chips and one frozen microwaveable pie.
Go figure. No wonder New Zealand's statistics of heart disease, diabetes and obesity are at huge proportions. I believe a contributing factor is that fruit, veges, fish, meat and chicken are so expensive and almost out of reach.
I now want to tell you the truth as to how I have struggled in the past few weeks to eat healthily.
Adding up the cost to even just buy a simple bag of baby spinach leaves had initially involved me driving to three different supermarkets.

For instance my dinner and lunch ingredients - baby spinach leaves, light cottage cheese, herbs, six yams and 14 pieces of either fish of chicken. I always get my baby spinach from Countdown in Fraser Cove as it is cheapest there.
For salmon, white fish and chicken, I check the mailers and go to who has the best deal.
Buying food is about being smart about where you shop, or even better, get your family and kids involved and start your own vege garden.
In the next few weeks I am going to start a summer vegetable garden and I will let you know how I get the products, how much cost and effort is involved to do this, plus tips from my grandmother who is the best gardener in the world.
I have made one definite decision on the first seed to plant and that's going to be tomatoes.
Yay - no more fumbling for a small yet firm tomato and then embarrassingly have some fall on the supermarket floor.
Goodbye to paying $14 per kilo, as I will be able to put my gumboots on and pick the tomatoes myself, with no sprays, no driving and best of all, the satisfaction that I grew them.
Exercise this week has been a nightmare, as I have started my clinical placement gaining valuable work experience in the hospital.
I absolutely love my job but the shift of 2.45pm to 11pm has made my 5.30am wake-up call to get to circuit class the next morning really, really hard.
I did not anticipate the tiredness that I feel and sadly I missed Wednesday's gym session because of this. It is amazing how bad it felt to miss it, I just did not feel good at all.
The buzz after working at the gym really does give me those endorphins that made me feel great, plus I was mad at myself for not getting there.
I have had a chat to Brett and I need to create a routine time to go to the gym. So 10am will be my regular time to have fun at the gym, get those endorphins going and burn some serious fat.
I also would like to mention Wendy, who has been writing to me and even wrote a lovely note to thank me as I have inspired her to join an eight-week weight loss challenge.
I wish you all the best Wendy - you will be awesome. If you need any support or advice, I am here for you.
Drum roll please as I introduce to you the new Vanessa for week six: I have lost 2cm off my chest, 3cm off both my waist and hips and 2kg in weight. That takes my total weight loss to 11kg - only 1kg off my goal with six weeks still to go.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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