When you think about it, losing weight is one of the few times when the word “losing” is considered a good thing. Losing your keys, losing your hair, losing your mind – all generally considered bad, right? But there’s one thing that you also lose as you lose weight that is definitely a negative: money. Of course, once you lose the weight, there are financial benefits, such as lower healthcare and drug costs and even lower transportation costs, given fuel efficiency improves 2% for every 100 pounds shed from a vehicle (#themoreyouknow).
But one of the things that no one really talks about is how much money it costs to lose the weight. Even setting aside weight loss surgery or diet plans like Weight Watchers or Nutri-System, which obviously cost money, there are lots of hidden costs that come into play as you drop the pounds.
It’s a pretty well-known fact that eating well is more expensive then eating crap. A 2014 Cambridge University study found that healthy foods cost three times as much as unhealthy foods, while a 2013 Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that healthy food costs an average of $1.50 more a day. Of course, when that fact is stated, it is generally followed by justifications for eating healthy anyway, such as “Eating and drinking cheaper food that is loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners will cause you to eat more” and “eating a healthy diet could mean lower health care costs down the road.” But while I get that eating healthy is good for my waist line, it can mean a hit to my bottom line.
Let’s take the foods I featured in my “Some Weird Things I Eat Now” column and compare them to their “regular” versions:
FlapJacked Gluten-Free Six Piece Mighty Muffins Variety Pack: $18.99
Half dozen muffins at Dunkin Donuts: $8.04
Banza Chickpea Pasta, Penne (Pack of 6): $17.04
Barilla Penne Pasta, 16 Ounce (Pack of 8): $12.34
Mr. Cheese O’s Bulk Case 6 X 1oz Bags (Variety Pack): $13.99
Kellogg’s Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers (Original, 1.5-Ounce Packages, Pack of 36): $9.11
Halo Top Chocolate Almond Crunch, 16 oz: $4.99
Wegmans Chocolate Almond Ice Cream. 48 oz: $2.69
Looks like my wallet is getting smaller as my ass does.
Obviously, one of things I plan to do when I reach my goal weight is chuck my entire wardrobe and buy all new clothes in my target size. But if you have a significant amount of weight to lose, an additional cost you may not have expected will be buying what I call “in-progress clothes.” It sucks to have to spend money on clothes that are still not the size that you want to be, but it’s a necessity, since you are going to look like a moron if you keep wearing pants that are four sizes too big.
Personally, my entire “in-progress” wardrobe comes from Old Navy, where the clothes are cheap, but surprisingly stylish. Having to buy new pants (even when they are only 15 bucks a piece) every couple of sizes can definitely get expensive and wearing leggings to work is a bit of a stretch (pun intended).
Of course, this is only a cost if you lose a ton of weight, and if you are in that camp, you know it’s going to be an expense. You probably just didn’t know exactly how large of an expense it was going to be.
I’m a planner, so even though I have about 25 pounds to my goal, I made an appointment with a plastic surgeon that my primary care physician recommended. After watching excessive amounts of My 600 Pound Life and Skin Tight on TLC to educate myself, I wanted to know three things: how many surgeries was it going to take to put everything back where it should be, how long would be I out of work for each one, and – the big question – how much was it all going to cost me?
The answers to the first two questions were about what I expected – three, and four-to-six weeks per surgery. But it was the answer to the final question that literally blew my mind. Are you ready?
THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS to remove the excess skin that cannot be lost by working out from my ass, thighs, belly and arms, plus put my boobs back into their upright and locked position. And that’s with some of one surgery being covered by insurance because I have a hernia (never thought I’d be grateful for a hernia…). So if you need me, I’ll be over here writing some pleading letters to TLC, because while the last thing I want to do is expose my body on a reality TV show, I don’t know how the hell else people afford these surgeries. And while I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining about insurance while there are actual people dying because they don’t have, it does seem a little ridiculous that none of this is covered since carrying around pounds of excess skin can undoubtedly lead to health issues.
So there you go – losing weight is likely going to mean losing some of your savings as well. Is it worth it? I’ll let you know in about 25 pounds.
Starting weight to Lose: 30 pounds
Week 1 Results: – 1.1 pounds
Week 2 Results: – 2.1 pounds
Week 3 Results: +0.4 pounds
Week 4 Results: – 0.2 pounds
Week 5 Results: – 0.2 pounds
Week 6 Results: – 0.1 pounds
Week 7 Results: -0.9 pounds
Week 8 Results: 0.0 pounds
Week 9 Results: -0.5 pounds
Week 10 Results: -0.6 pounds
Remaining weight to lose: 24.7 pounds
If you want to follow along with me, friend me on MyFitnessPal or FitBit!
Also, I’ll be chatting weekly about my progress with JR Hickey on our podcast, “Don’t Take It From Us.” New eps will be released every Wednesday, so check it out on Soundcloud below or Subscribe on iTunes!