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Losing weight will more than shrink your waist measurement; it will shrink your wallet too!
You’ve heard the statistics already...as Americans, we are almost three times as fat as we were in the 1960’s, and we’re spending an estimated $60+ billion to lose the weight. We know that carrying around extra tonnage puts us at risk for a ton of expensive medical problems. We also know that we’re going to either pay for a healthy lifestyle to prevent getting sick or health-care to try and make us well.
And while that decision seems like it should be an easy one, it’s hard to find a weight loss program that we can stick with, and even harder to find one that won’t make us go broke in the process!
The Scary Numbers:Weight loss is big business! 22% of people are on a diet during any given time. The US Weight Loss and Diet Control Market is estimated to have reached over $60 billion!
Losing weight is challenging, but for the focused and persistent, losing 1-2 pounds per week on most weight loss programs is average. But it’s going to cost a pretty penny--over and over again--since 83% of people regain the weight (and then some) within 2 years. In a study done by University of California at Los Angeles, researchers discovered that half of dieters weighed more than 11 pounds over their starting weight five years after their diet.
The hidden costs of being fat:US News & World Report stated in an article, “The annual cost of being obese is $4,879 for a woman and $2,646 for a man, according to a report released Tuesday by George Washington University researchers. Being overweight, meanwhile, costs $524 for women and $432 for men.”
Sure, there are health care related costs such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, sleep apnea, infertility, etc. But there are other hidden costs not normally mentioned in the media:
“Why don’t we just eat healthy and exercise?”If only it was that easy. Anyone who has tried to lose weight on their own, knows how hard it is to stick to a program long enough to get results. Time and money are the biggest battles when it comes to beating the bulge.
(And if you work at FatWallet the abundance of delicious snacks are a frightening obstacle as well!)
Healthy food isn’t cheap and cheap food isn’t healthyDollar menus at fast food restaurants and easy to fix processed foods are attractive to people on a tight budget and tight schedule.
The University of Washington did a study of 378 foods comparing the cost of 1,000 calories of nutritious, low calorie foods to 1,000 calories of less healthy foods and found that the retail prices of healthy nutrient dense foods have increased 30% between 2004 and 2008 compared to 16% for less nutritious fatty foods, sweets, and soft drinks.
Top objections of going to the gym: No time and no money!That health club is going to cost you $660 per year on average. That’s fine if you can afford it and are actually using it, but since 67% of people with gym memberships don’t use them, chances are you're not either.
Let’s figure out the cost per pound with a fun story problem. (Forgive the oxymoron: I know story problems aren’t fun for most!)
If you want to figure out how much your workout at the gym costs per pound, here’s the formula.
So if you’re like me and can’t help but laugh at the irony when you hear the theme song from Welcome Back Kotter playing as you walk into your gym after a hiatus, chances are your money could be better utilized elsewhere.
Cost of popular weight loss programs per pound:Weight loss programs claim that you can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week on the plan, results may vary, and significant weight loss is not typical. The calculations below were for the average weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week (4-8 pounds per month).
Here's a free document for you with all the prices of the various membership levels each of the companies below offers if you'd like more detail that what I've included below.
Weight Loss Programs that Don’t Include Food:
Like with most things, DIY dieting can help you save money. The cost per pound drops as the amount of personalized support each of weight loss programs offer you decreases. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish though, because with weight loss you're more likely to be successful when you have support and accountability of a friend or coach. There's a great article on SheKnows that explains the psychology behind it.
Diet Plans that Include Food DeliveryWhile they seem drastically more expensive, diet plans that include food can be a great value for people who don't like to cook or have trouble with portion sizes. When you factor in what you normally spend on food yourself, they may not be as expensive as you think and the convenience may be worth it for you.
Apps and websites:If you're a DIY kind of dieter, there is a cornucopia of cash friendly web sites and apps to help you lose weight. Many are combined with an online community to help you receive the support you need to stick with it.
Surgery & Drugs:There are even more alternatives to losing weight, which are a bit more on the, “It’s going to cost you a freaking lot of money and pain” side: Liposuction, Lap Band Gastric Bypass Surgery and Skin Removal surgery. While they may be enticing to some people who feel they are out of options, they all will require you to eat less and move more.
And then there are a myriad of diet pills and infomercial weight loss products out there. Some of them may help you to lose weight, and some of them may be healthy, but I’ve heard more than enough of “loose stools, greasy anal leakage, and increased gas” side effects disclaimers to keep me from being enticed.
And I’m not even going to go into detail on the diet things that make you go, “eww!” I’m sorry, but feeding tubes, wiring your mouth shut, and surgically implanting plastic things into your tongue to make eating painful and going on a liquid diet of 800 calories are not for me.
Proceed with caution:Weight loss scams & fraud are rampant on the web. Before taking any magic dietary supplements, even those that claim to be “natural,” or beginning any weight loss programs check with the FDA, FTC, and Better Business Bureau to make sure they’re safe and legit.
How to Get Paid to Get HealthyBelieve it or not, there are ways to get paid to get healthy. And No, you don’t have to be morbidly obese and get your half naked, flabby self on the scale in front of millions of people with gig on The Biggest Looser or Extreme Makeover Weightloss Edition!
So there you have it! The whole weight loss enchilada! I hope it helps save you some time researching what weight loss programs are best for you and your budget.
If you liked this post, please pass it on to your friends in social media or leave a comment here on the blog with any additional information that may be helpful to others!
Be Happy, Be Healthy! :)
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