Life Journey, Weight Loss

The Cost of Losing Weight

Weigh-in: 3lbs Loss

So, a good result for me this morning, putting me back on track and 0.5lb lighter than before my six-week sabbatical, and FINALLY getting my third silver seven. I’ve crossed off number 6 on my WW goals list, and I’m focusing on getting over the Stone Hump before Christmas. When I get to this point, I’m celebrating with a Happy Wardrobe Dance and a third progress picture. This picture is always taken wearing the exact same clothes, which I will continue to do, even when they are baggy and hanging off – I think this is important because when you look in the mirror every day it’s difficult to see the difference in yourself. I will also share these pictures with my lovely readers and fellow bloggers after the third one is taken. (I’m warning you now, the first picture in particular is NOT a pretty sight – don’t want to put you all off your carefully propointed lunches ūüėČ )

As we draw nearer to the festive period, my thoughts turn to one thing only. Money. Gifts, food, trees, nights out,transport costs….There is no doubt that it is an increasingly expensive time of year, and definitely shows no signs of getting any cheaper! This little thought has been niggling away, and Cordelia has kindly pointed out that as a Weight Watcher, this can sometimes make things even worse. But for someone who is trying to lose weight, the costs are definitely not just financial, and I wonder how many people (particularly people who have never struggled with eating/exercise/weight) actually realise how the different aspects of losing weight actually¬† ‘cost’ us.

Financial Costs

The obvious ones are here. Let’s talk about food bills. In theory, shopping bills should be less because we’re eating less, right? Wrong. I find my shopping bill has crept up substantially over the last 4 months and here’s why:

Although James is happy to eat most WW recipes, he needs considerably more sustenance than me to support his labour-intensive job. Things like whole milk, real butter, nuts and so forth are the best way for him to keep up his calorie intake without eating too much junk. (Oh, and the sacred Second Breakfast) So I find myself buying two versions of things. Although we are using less of each, perishables don’t last any longer unfortunately. In this sad day in age, it is cheaper to buy over-processed, fat and sugar-laden pre-packaged foods than it is to buy fresh stuff. Prime example: Pizza. I can pick up a frozen pizza for ¬£1,but to make from scratch would probably cost me double that. In addition, buying reduced-fat/sugar versions of things can sometimes be more expensive. See where I’m going with this?

Aside from food bills, many people choose a support network to aid in weight loss (more on this in a bit) like WWs etc. These are not free. Add that on to your monthly weight loss bill. Personally, I don’t grudge this, because I couldn’t be successful without it (and believe me, I’ve tried!) and when you do start being successful, you get to fork out MORE money on a regular basis because none of your clothes fit! There are discount sites and some swapshop-type groups to alleviate this and I personally have no problem wearing hand-me-ups although some people can be ‘funny’ about that. However, that cost will never be eliminated completely, you’ll still have to buy knickers.

As you adopt a healthier lifestyle, you’ll probably pick up or re-ignite a healthy hobby like walking, swimming or Zumba. Guess what? More money! Some pastimes are relatively cheap (walking being one of them) but it is very easy to get carried away- or, like me, get all scientific and seriously embroiled because it’s a PASSION. Even if you go to Zumba, or join a gym, add that cash up over a year….yep, told you! My expenditure on running is pretty hefty if you add up everything since the summer. Surprisingly, I’m not kitted out top-to-toe in the best of gear,but it’s kind of crept up….

Runkeeper subscription: £13 per year

Monthly Running Mags: £10

New Kicks: £130

Winter Gear: £60 (High-vis jacket, longsleeves etc)

New Socks: £20 (!)

iPhone armband: £12

Sports Bras: ¬£70 (don’t even go there!)

Race fees: £30

The best thing is, most of these things wear out and need replaced eventually. I’ve already done 120 miles in the new shoes, so at most I’ll get another 6 months out them and it will be time to get another pair. I know my shoes were quite expensive, but that’s one area I’m not scrimping on – I need to help my knee out as much as possible. Aside from that, all my clothes are picked up at places like Sports Direct or Ebay.

See? Being healthy IS expensive!

Emotional Costs

The less-thought-about costs of losing weight should not be discounted. For many, weight issues are often tied in with emotions. Emotional eating (be it perceived through positive or negative means) is a common theme. Having to detach oneself – A bit like throwing out a comfy pair of slippers – from such habits is both difficult, long and takes a fair bit of work, and this is often overlooked for the more physical aspects of weight loss. (Tell me you aren’t more bothered about what the scales say than how your brain is coping!).

One of key aspects of controlling the emotional investment is the same as with any other habit – repetition. Do something often enough and it becomes second nature. Weight loss the sensible way is often the longer, harder route which is key in developing a new set of habits that will last a lifetime and prevent further weight gain, as opposed to surgery, for example. It’s a traditional case of prevention is better than cure.¬† This repetitive cycle is what we need, but can often become a grind, and develops into something that can become very wearing over time. It’s at this stage it is important to use determination, staying power and focus to control feelings of despair/being overwhelmed etc. and being able to sever the ties to our old, unhealthy habits.

Losing weight can be a very enjoyable journey too – the elation of getting to goal after so much work, the sense of achievement when someone tells you you look fabulous, or (my personal favourite) the satisfaction of jeans slipping on effortlessly when previously they got stuck round fat thighs.

The point is, going on a weight loss journey is an emotional investment as well as a financial one – we lay bare the rawest emotions to complete the mission, in the hope that the rewards will leave us richer in the long run.

Social  Costs

Pause for thought: What’s changed in your social circle since you decided to lose weight? Hmmmm.

I’ve lost touch with people I used to drink with. James and I are now very rarely in the pub, and when we do go, I find I have very little in common¬† with the regulars as my life no longer revolves around ‘What happened to wee Jimmy in the bar the other night’ and how many pints it takes to get me sozzled. This is a positive change, and what I call ‘Stripping out the Fails’.

Another example of this is losing negative attitudes from your life – again, a positive step, but this doesn’t mean it’s easy. I had to ditch a friend who I realised was not helping me in any way, shape or form. How do you tell someone you are cutting them out your life? This person was great fun to be around,we had lots in common and¬† got on well, but only because she was slim, pretty and got all the attention. From everyone. I soon realised she liked hanging out with me because I was fat, which meant all eyes on her. We hadn’t seen each other for a while after I’d lost weight the first time and it had started to creep back on. Her words to me were ‘ Well seeing your new life hasn’t done your figure any favours! And I know I can say that because you and I were friends when you were really big’

Really?

I’ve seen her once since that incident and pleased to report that she’s got fat. Really fat. (Childish, I know) The best of it is, she spent the whole time telling me how comfortable she was and didn’t care what size she was (Read: ‘I hate myself!) GET RID OF NEGATIVE PEOPLE WHO DON’T SUPPORT YOU! I certainly don’t feel like my life is any less enriched in her absence.

Finally, support networks. For me, this is the biggest ‘cost’ to my weight loss journey. The number of people I rely on to get me through my journey is astronomical. WW leaders, friends, followers, other bloggers, partners, the lady in the coffee house that knows not to offer me baguettes anymore….and yes, you as well ūüėČ

The number of people I subject to my relentless tirade of running, propoints, clothes sizes and goal lists is ridiculous. And I still expect these people to interact with me regularly as if I’m not a crazy person. This can be a risk, but end up costing you dearly. I once told a story of a ‘sabotage’ husband who was scared he’d lose his wife – you are basically asking people to accept that you are going to change whether they like it or not. I happen to be very lucky at home – Although James has never had a serious weight issue, he is very good at being supportive, and tries his best to take an interest in my running. If I thought for one minute that becoming healthier would jeopardize our relationship, I would seriously have to reconsider my goals.

After all, losing weight can be a costly business.

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