So many of us decide to lose weight without thinking through the implications – as if it’s something that comes without cost – but we’re all wrong! Today, we’ll examine a Weight Loss Holistic Spending Plan.
Vision, Mission, Virtues
Looking to the future…
Someone who wants to lose weight might envision:
I am fit and full of life with sufficient strength and stamina to take on any challenge.
And their mission (mid-term plan) might be:
I eat well, take sufficient exercise, and get enough sleep.
Their virtues probably include Health, Challenge, and Self Respect. I think we need to add in Determination and Openness because you’re probably not going to lose weight (and keep it off) any quicker than you put it on!
You could use a SMART goal for this, but I think a HARD one would be better because this is one of those goals you need to really feel to stay motivated.
Heartfelt: You can’t face another day at this size.
Animated: You can imagine a smaller, more energetic you skipping about your daily business.
Required: You might die if you don’t lose weight.
Difficult: Will require determination and sheer bloody-mindedness to succeed.
Lose 10 kg (22lb) to improve my health by eating healthier food and moving more.
This goal is mostly about making time to exercise and cook, but it’s not without a financial cost.
Basic Spending Plan
We’ll use the basic proportional plan with the after-tax monthly income of $3,435.
|% of income
At this moment in time, the weight loss emphasis is moving to focus on what you eat. It assumes that fresh produce, eaten in as close to its natural state as possible provides the best nutrition. There’s some consideration of serving sizes, the time between meals, and what kind of snacks to eat when.
Doing it from scratch could mean buying two or three recipe books (say $100), setting some menus and buying only the ingredients you need. This will probably include expensive products you wouldn’t normally buy, and their cost may not be entirely covered by not buying the junk you normally eat. Additionally, there may be wastage if it takes some time to adjust to the changes in flavour. You might become accustomed to reduced serving sizes if you cook the recipe exactly and divide it evenly, but you may find you eat more than one serve and the dish you thought might do two meals makes only one. But potentially, over time, your costs could be more or less the same.
If you want to avoid the confusion, you could use a home delivery service that delivers all your meals and snacks for up to $785 per person per month, though you still need to buy incidentals like milk (say $80/month). You would also get the added benefit of regular exposure to appropriate serving sizes which will be helpful when you eat out and eventually stop using the service. It will also keep you away from the shops and temptation to buy high-calorie snacks, and give you back a couple of hours a week that you could replace with an exercise activity like river/lake/beach swimming, country walking or golf. Or a pleasurable activity with incidental exercises like visiting a museum or gallery. However, depending on the service you choose and the delivery times, there is potential for your food to be sitting outside in the sun for half a day and this presents a health risk that might not be offset by the weight loss.
You could also join a support group like Weight Watchers for $50/month, or something with support and food for about $700 (though of course, it’s fiendishly difficult to get a quote before you join).
While not necessary for weight loss, exercise is good for developing taught muscles that help to slim your body. And it’s good for physical strength and stamina. One of the best ways to get these benefits is with circuit training that uses all your muscle groups either by joining a gym (around $65/month) or hiring a personal trainer ($100/month for one-on-one training).
How you deal with this depends on your circumstances; if you are single, you might prefer to use the delivery service and get a personal trainer. A couple might like to cook together, and a busy mother of four may prefer to use low fat and sugar options with her regular menu plan. This time, let’s assume we’re a couple.
- Food: While you can tailor delivery services, (e.g., breakfast and dinner five days a week for two $806) it’s still a lot of money. As our couple has other goals that are more important to them right now, they plan to buy some cookbooks and try to cook more at home.
- Housing: No change.
- Clothing: As the goal is to lose weight, at some point new clothes will need to be purchased, but in the meantime, you could divert funds from clothing to food.
- Operations: This goal will not significantly impact operational costs. There may be a slight increase in utility costs reflective of being at home more often, or a small reduction if they spend more time out exercising.
- Happy Life: Our couple has decided to swim for additional exercise. While two unlimited 12-month memberships at the local aquatic centre will cost $144/month and three casual visits a week $203, they have decided to visit casually until they know they will last the distance. The cost for this will initially come from general savings while they look for additional savings elsewhere.
Potential Weight Loss Holistic Spending Plan
You’ll make other changes according to your particular circumstances, but here is one potential spending plan:
|% of income
Assuming you can stay away from clothing stores and online shopping until you reach your target goal, this is a relatively simple spending plan. However, the main difficulty is finding the time to cook and exercise, and the determination to keep going when it looks like you’re not getting anywhere.
It is difficult to overcome inertia when you are trying to lose weight. And the extra weight that you are carrying is as much of a barrier as changing the way that you think about what and how you eat and move. But the general medical consensus is that you live longer, take fewer drugs at lower doses, and enjoy a higher quality of physical and mental health. Not to mention the joy of having achieved your goal.
Photo of Second Lt. Mary McLaughlin preparing a special diet, c. 1943. Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria.
Just a little reminder, you can read other relevant posts on the Holistic Personal Finance page.
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