The Cost of Fitness
So did you survive Tax Day? If you really want to get someone grumpy, ask them if they have (and follow) a budget. Most people think of budgets the same way they think of diets: they are restrictive and tedious. If you push the emotions out of the way, a budget is really just establishing your priorities and spending your money accordingly.
Vices are expensive. I went to a Prevention Magazine summit earlier this year and Dr. Holly Phillips, CBS’s Chief Medical Correspondent told an interesting story. She had a patient who smoked three packs of cigarettes per day and no matter what Dr. Phillips told her about heart disease or cancer the patient kept smoking.
Until one time Dr. Phillips asked how much her habit cost and the patient realized it was about $30 per day. So instead of smoking she put $30 each day in an envelope and dropped them off weekly at Dr. Phillips office. (She acknowledges this isn’t typical of most doctors!) At the end of the year the patient had saved $10,000! #WishYouWereMyDoctor
In my 20’s, I was a social smoker because I thought it was cool. Ask me how well my little habit went over with my dad, dying of kidney cancer? We had one very difficult conversation and I decided to quit that same day.
Obesity is expensive too. I have relatives who are overweight and have to spend a lot of money on medications for diabetes. According to a study Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2012, “People with diagnosed diabetes incur average medical expenditures of about $13,700 per year, of which about $7,900 is attributed to diabetes. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.” (Source: The Cost of Diabetes.) When you add in additional costs for high blood pressure medications, extra trips to the doctor, time off from work due to said doctor visits, the dollars spent and productivity lost is pretty shocking.
My relatives have been told that if they lose weight they could get off the medications, but they have decided they’d rather spend money on pills than healthy food and gym memberships. I can relate to being intimidated of changing your entire lifestyle. Before I stumbled into bodybuilding my own doctor told me that I was borderline obese and if I didn’t change I was setting myself up for diabetes.
If you were to look at my discretionary spending budget today you would see that my main priorities are my family and fitness. There is a cost to being healthy too.
Eating organic is ridiculously costly. For Thanksgiving I was going to buy an organic turkey but it was three times more money than the one juiced up on poultry steroids. I decided to go for something in the middle – a bird without artificial growth hormones plus more affordable organic fruits and vegetables.
The one thing I do go organic on is milk, because when my daughter was drinking the cheaper milk, which contained artificial growth hormones from the cows, she got a bad case of acne. (She’s only seven years old.) Beyond that I eat clean, which is to say I make whole, unprocessed foods for my family at least 90% of the time.
As a family, we also value fitness. My kids play sports and I do competitions. Bodybuilding is not a cheap sport, as you can see by my detailed spending breakdown I did last Tax Day: The Real Co$t of Bodybuilding. My husband, ever the penny pincher, said to me this morning on my way to the gym, “So, how much are we spending for training sessions?” I replied, “I’m 41 and just won 3rd place in a bikini competition.” He said, “Tell your trainer I said hi.”
Back to Tax Day… Your financial choices throughout the year determine if you get a refund, pay nothing or have payment demanded from you. Likewise, whatever you chose to do from a health standpoint has a cost to it. Some choices pay dividends and others, like smoking, could cost you your life.
As is evidenced by my own bad habit pictures above versus the picture from this weekend at the Texas Shredder, just because you made bad choices in the past it doesn’t mean you have to continue down that path. You can make new health choices at any time. Your life is in your own hands.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two. Want to know more of her fitness secrets?
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