Something I have heard a lot is “getting and staying healthy is expensive!” That was the exact thought that went through my head when we brought over $20 worth of Apples, grapes and blueberries for our meals a few weeks ago. For $20 I could make spaghetti for 20 people! Instead I am getting a week of snacks for two people.
Is everyone right? Is getting and staying healthy expensive?
Let’s start with food. Are the healthier things I buy now more expensive than some of the junk I brought before? YES! Fresh fruits and vegetables are pricy and they have a very short shelf life so stocking up while they are on sale is not always a good option. Lean meats like fish or seafood tend to be more expensive than ground beef or sirloin. I have noticed, however, I buy smaller quantities of food now that I am eating less than half what I used to eat. Also, because I make my lunches most of the time (or eat leftovers) I do not go out as often so I save a bunch of money there. In the long run, while some of the individual items are more expensive, the total I spend on food has not gone up very much. I would consider this a tie.
Next is the exercise portion of the show. On one level exercise can be free. What does it cost to walk around the block or play catch with the kids? Nothing, right? However, there comes a point for most of us where walking does not burn enough calories to keep the weight coming (or staying) off. So many of us turn to other options; we buy the latest exercise DVD craze (P90x, 30 Shred, Biggest Loser, etc) or we join some sort of gym. Either way, it is money out of our pockets. Sheri and I spend about $600 a year on our gym membership. This does not include the $1080 per year we spend on our personal trainer sessions twice a month or all the money we spend on good athletic shoes or gym clothes. If you are crazy like me and participate in organized 5k walks, 5k runs, mud runs, triathlons, half marathons, marathons, etc., the cost goes even higher. Most of the 5k’s I do range anywhere between $30 and $80 to participate and a lot of them have a minimum fundraising amount which you have to cover if you do not raise enough money. In addition to this, there is the equipment. I own two pairs of cross training shoes and a pair of running shoes. Good shoes like this range from $50-$120 a pair. I am estimating I will spend somewhere close to $1000 on triathlon equipment (New Bike, helmet, padded shorts, swim trunks, goggles, etc) in the next 6 months. I am an extreme example so I would not use me as a good example of the cost for exercise but if you just looking at the gym membership, decent shoes and workout clothes, you are probably looking at about $300-$400 a year. Here, I will agree exercise will cost you more money.
You have heard the saying “time is money”. I have to agree. I think your time is an expense you should take into consideration as well. Currently, Sheri and I work out 4 nights a week and average about an hour or hour and a half per night. So we are looking at 4-6 hours a week in the gym. For me you add the 30-40 minutes a day in morning workouts 4-5 days a week and another 2-3 hours a week I spend on my weight loss and fitness related internet time (reading others blogs, writing this one, keeping up on Twitter, researching things about running, triathlons, cooking, etc). Let’s not forget the meal planning and prep time. This is a huge chunk of time we had free to do other things in the past. On the weekends, we spend several hours making lunch and dinner menus and then pre portioning all of the food so we can “grab and go”. While I agree I now spend more time being healthy, what am I missing as a result? What am I really giving up? So I only sit in front of the TV for 3 hours instead of 5. So I stopped spending 40+ hours a week playing an online game. So I give up 30 minutes of sleep in the morning. Am I really worse off without all of these things? I would say no. Again, I think this is a tie.
As you lose weight, you shrink out of your clothes and end up having to buy an all-new wardrobe. Or, if you are like me, you end up buying multiple new wardrobes. I have gone down 8 pants sizes and 3 shirt sizes so far and will probably lose at least 1-2 more shirt sizes and 3 or 4 more pants sizes before it is all over. This means more new outfits which fit for a few weeks or months before they are too big again. All these new clothes can become expensive so I can see why people consider this to be a good example of why weight loss is costly. And I would agree that as you are losing weight, you will end up spending more money on clothes. But what are you paying for the clothes? As I have mentioned before, I have gone from shopping at specialty “big and tall” stores for my clothes to being able to shop at what I consider normal store (i.e. Wal-Mart, Kmart, JC Penney, etc). The cost for jeans has gone from costing me close to $50 at the specialty stores to $10-$20 a pair. Shirts have gone from $30-$40 to $8-$20 a shirt. On top of that, I have done some shopping at the local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores to get some clothes for $4-$6 an item. Because I can now buy 5 new pairs of jeans for the price of what I used to buy a single pair before clothes will cost me considerably less in the long run. So while there is a little more “upfront” cost for clothes, in the long run, you end up paying LESS for clothes. Again, I would consider this a tie.
When I started this journey, I was on 6 different medications. I was fortunate to have most of them were on the $4 list at Wal-Mart but I was still paying around $35-$40 a month for my drugs. Because of the 110+ pounds I have lost and the change in diet and exercise, all of my medical issues are under control without medication. But it does not stop there. Not only am I saving $420-$480 a year on prescriptions, I am hopefully saving thousands of dollars on other medical issues I have avoided by getting healthier. I think this is hands down a money savings.
If you had asked me 2 or 3 years ago if my weight took a toll on my emotional/mental state I would have told you no. I was VERY happy being a fat guy. Sure I had those days where it hurt to walk or where I was not able to do things others were but I did not focus on them. Now that I have lost weight and have a whole new outlook on life, I realize how much the weight took a toll on me. I hid behind my weight. I took the easy way out and because I did, I never challenged myself to get better. I do more now than I ever have before. I don’t have to do calculations to figure out if a chair will hold me or if I will be able to catch up with my friends. I know what it is like to push myself to the limits and be surprised what my body can do. I know what it is like to set goals and then meet or exceed them. I try new things and have A LOT of fun doing them. For me, this is another hands down winner. I am emotionally and mentally better off than I ever was before.
By my calculation, exercise is the only thing that was more expensive in my opinion. You may not agree on some of my evaluations, so I have one last item which I think solves the argument for me.
What is one more quality day with the people you love worth to you? What is the value of one more year on this earth? What would you pay to live a less limited life? Can you put a price on all of the happy memories you might miss out on if you do not lose the weight?
There is not a day that goes by where I do not wish my mother had a couple more months or years on this earth. I would give anything in the world for her to have been at the Never Quit race on my 44th birthday to see me finish my first run or to have been standing next to my father as I crossed the finish line at the Mud Run a couple weeks ago. While I celebrate every victory I achieve in this journey, part of me is saddened because she is not here to hug me and tell me how proud she is of me. Likewise, I cannot imagine not growing old with Sheri. We celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary on Friday and I plan on spending many more with her. What we have done to improve our lives and extend them is PRICELESS! If for no other reason, a longer life with a better quality of living is worth more than any gym membership, healthy food or new wardrobe will ever cost.
So does it cost more? Maybe.
Is it worth it? HELL YES!
- Current weight– 10/03/12 – 270.4
- Last week’s weight – 9/26/12 – 272.8
- Starting weight – 2/13/11 – 384.8
Weight loss for this week - 2.4 pounds
Total Weight loss - 114.4 pounds
Filed under: Diet, goals, Health, Inspiration, Journal, Journey, Losing Weight, Mens Weight Loss, Other, Overweight, Personal, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Tagged: | diet, Goals, health, inspiration, journal, Journey, Losing Weight, Mens Weight Loss, Obesity, other, Overweight, weight loss