#NoExcusesNovember - Being Healthy Is Too Expensive

Friday, November 07, 2014

Have you ever heard that being healthy is too expensive?  Have you thought it yourself?  I'm guessing the answers to both questions is "yes" because I hear it almost every day.  Heck, even I said it!  I came from a home with a total household budget of less than $20,000 a year.  Trust me, I once thought eating healthy and engaging in fitness were outside of my price range.

So tell me, do any of the following sound familiar to you?

                         "Healthy food is more expensive than junk food."
                                   "Joining a gym is too expensive."
                                             "Fresh produce is out of my budget."
                                                       "Fitness programs cost too much."
                                                                 "Shakeology costs too much."
                                                                           "Personal trainers charge too much."

Guess what?  I've said ALL of those things!  It's easy to think that being healthy is the exact opposite of cost effectiveness.  Especially when you are comparing apples to Doritos.  ;)  But the truth is, I am spending less money NOW than I did before I started implementing healthy habits.  And that is even considering the fact that produce prices have risen at incredible rates over the last few years. 

So let's break it down, shall we?  

Let's talk nutrition first.  I hear over and over how expensive it is to feed the body with healthy, whole foods.  That junk foods and fast food are so much cheaper.  But is that really true?  Let's take a look at an ad for this week for a large chain grocery store in my area.

On the one side, you have pierogies (did I mention I was from the Pittsburgh region?), pizza, shells and cheese, and Stouffer's meals.  On the other hand, you have fresh meats and fruits.  In case you were wondering, the grid in the right top corner of the second pic was taken straight from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What do you notice?

I notice a couple things:
  1. The numbers on the healthier, whole foods are higher.
  2. Healthy food doesn't tend to go on "sale" very often - hence the average statistics instead of pictures.
Makes you think that maybe eating healthy is, in fact, more expensive, right?  Except, let's look at servings/meals, shall we?  How many meals can you make out of a pizza?  A box of mac and cheese or a bag of pierogies?

Now how many meals can you make out of 3lb chicken breasts?  2lb pork chops?  Can you see where I am going there?  While it may take a bit more time (more on that Monday!), with some planning, healthy meals can be inexpensive and can be made into more than one meal - saving even more money!

Now let's look at Shakeology, as it is often a sticking point.  My daily shake is the closest thing I come to a "convenience food" most days.  So let's compare it to some other "convenience" meals.

Do you understand, now, how eating healthy can actually save you money IMMEDIATELY?

*My* Running Shoes
So, then, what about the fitness side of things?  If you are just starting out, I have AMAZING news for you:  fitness can be FREE!  Put on a pair of shoes, and head out your front door.  Walking is a GREAT starting exercise.  Now, will walking get you ripped or functionally stronger?  No, and once you make it to a certain point in your journey, you will have to invest in something.

Want to start running?  Great.  Now go buy a good pair of shoes.  Want to start lifting?  Great.  Now go join a gym or invest in equipment.  Want to have individualized attention from a professional trainer?  Awesome idea!  But they also cost money.

I am not trying to talk you out of fitness - far from it!  But I do want you to see that the reality is, eventually you will be investing in something along your fitness journey.  But which investment is the most economical?

Back in January I did some research and wrote a post about the costs associated with gyms in my area.  Bottom line, it costs approximately $70-155 PER MONTH for individualized attention and access to a local gym.

PiYo + 30 Days Shakeology + Individualized Coaching = $140
On the other hand, a program purchased through a coach at Beachbody includes instruction AND individualized attention.  Plus, 30 meals are included.  All for less than the price of a month's gym membership.

So I ask you, is there really a comparison?


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