I hear more often than I would expect if I wasn’t involved in the fitness industry that losing weight is expensive. This statement has always rubbed me the wrong way because I can’t comprehend how one can think that losing weight costs more than gaining it. This myth is so widespread that I decided to address it and debunk it, while also acknowledging certain nuances. Let’s go!

Diet and weight loss can be approached from various angles, and I encourage anyone interested in the topic to read the posts on this blog that cover different aspects of these interconnected issues.

I mention this to emphasize that this post solely focuses on the financial aspect of weight loss and aims to avoid repetition or rehashing of topics that I have already discussed elsewhere.

Alright, now that we have clarified the basic assumptions, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

Nuances related to weight loss

There are two issues that I would like to address before you say “but, but…”. It seems to me that fitness myths, but not only those, don’t come out of nowhere, they are not completely baseless, so it’s worth making an effort to reach their source.

So, where did the belief that weight loss is expensive come from?

#1 Food deserts

The United States is a vast country, the source of many contemporary Western problems that were foreign to the world just a few decades or a few hundred years ago.

Despite having a gigantic economy and a relatively affluent society, there is no supermarket on literally every corner. There are still many areas with low levels of urbanization where access to many modern conveniences is challenging.

That’s why the interesting concept of a food desert exists in the US, which refers to an area with limited access to quality, affordable food products.

For those interested in details, I encourage you to read at least the linked article on Wikipedia. Personally, I find the distances defined there not particularly convincing, especially for urban areas.

You are considered to be in a food desert if you have to travel more than a mile to reach a supermarket. This gives you an excuse to have a poor diet, and believe me, people do take advantage of it. For rural areas, 10 miles makes more sense, although I wonder how difficult it is to access local produce there.

#2 Quality products

When talking about weight loss, it’s important to remember that it’s not entirely synonymous with healthy eating. Losing weight, at least up to a certain point, is possible even while still consuming fast food. However, this approach is short-term and not recommended because it doesn’t help in building new, proper dietary habits that are crucial for health and maintenance of results.

Many people in the initial phase tend to equate these two concepts, trying to skip the implementation stage (limiting the intake of current products) and diving headfirst into an ultra-clean diet. This is neither necessary nor particularly effective for them.

Keeping all of this in mind, I must admit that truly high-quality, fully optimized healthy eating based exclusively on top-notch products can indeed be expensive, especially for individuals with significant caloric needs (e.g., athletes, highly active professionals).

Such an understanding of diet, however, represents an extreme approach because a solid healthy diet doesn’t have to be based on products from some niche stores. Setting aside inflation, animal protein sources, basic vegetables and fruits, dairy, and carbohydrates such as rice or potatoes are relatively affordable considering what they provide.

Nevertheless, it’s always worth considering the aspect of long-term health and the potential costs, not just monetary, associated with its maintenance. Regular consumption of cheaper, calorie-dense (theoretically better at satisfying hunger) products may cost you much more in the future.

It’s time to debunk the myth of expensive weight loss

I believe that life is already complicated enough, and we should optimize it wherever possible. My approach to weight loss might seem radical to many because I strive to simplify it to the max, which results in having a low tolerance for any kind of excuses. However, it also becomes highly effective.

Therefore, I consider the statement claiming that weight loss is expensive to be a myth. On the contrary, you can comfortably lose excess weight without spending money.

Eating less = spending less

Let’s start with the fact that weight loss at its core means consuming less food, which directly translates to lower overall expenses. So how on earth can weight loss be expensive?!

Honestly, we could end the discussion right here. I don’t understand how you can spend more money to weigh less. Explain that to me!

To begin and see initial results, you don’t even need to buy any products other than the ones you currently consume. Simply buying less of them is sufficient. Granted, it’s not the optimal approach to weight loss, but it’s enough to get started.

Getting your steps in

The weight loss effects of portion control can be significantly enhanced through regular physical activity, and walking is by far the cheapest option. You don’t have to spend a single penny to do it.

I’m not saying you have to take 10,000 steps (approximately 3.5-3.7 miles) every day of the week (although I highly recommend and encourage it), but start with 2-3 days and 3,000 steps.

I mentioned that my approach is quite radical, and to not just make empty claims, if you’re unable to increase the amount of time regularly spent on your feet, forget about losing weight, maintaining results, and improving overall health.

Home workouts

Honestly, the gym is not even the ideal choice for someone just starting their weight loss journey. Not because they’re unwelcome there or because it won’t benefit them, but it can be a demanding and somewhat intimidating place, and it’s worth considering starting with something easier to become more in-tune with your body and establish a much-needed exercise routine.

You don’t have to spend money on a gym membership. You can easily start exercising at home with just your bodyweight and follow a training plan you’ve found online.

Realistic diet

A significant problem for people wanting to lose excess weight, as I have mentioned many times on this blog, is having unrealistic expectations about what their diet will look like.

Fitness meals from Instagram or Pinterest may be delicious and nutritionally valuable, but a week has 7 days during which you’ll consume anywhere from 20 to maybe even 30 meals. Realistically, you won’t be preparing fitness influencer recipes for each of them.

An effective weight-loss diet, and here my radical approach comes into play again, is based on the same nutritious meals every day, which you can prepare in a few minutes (excluding potential cooking time for certain ingredients).

Find quality sources of protein, fats, and perhaps carbohydrates, along with vegetables that you can literally eat every day, and you’re good to go. There’s no need to overcomplicate things.

It’s cheaper at home

Regardless of the broader context, we all need to get our food in. An important decision you make in this regard is whether you will do it at home or eat out. It’s possible to eat healthy and relatively low-calorie meals outside the home, but it can be costly.

Furthermore, even if you’re already in shape, it doesn’t necessarily contribute to maintaining your physique – been there, done that – so it’s even less helpful for those who are just starting out on their fitness journey.

Cut out sugar

Lastly, I’ll mention a well-known strategy that supports weight loss, which is cutting out sugar from your diet in as many forms as possible because it hides not only in sweets.

When it comes to health, everything has already been said about sugar. In terms of finances, well, if you don’t eat sweets, you’ll have more money left, so once again, expensive weight loss is a myth.

Every time you feel like buying something sweet, put the equivalent amount of your craving into a piggy bank. Then enjoy the additional budget for whatever you like a month or a year later.

In conclusion

So, is weight loss expensive?

Not Gonna Happen No Way GIF by FaZe Clan - Find & Share on GIPHY

Yes, it is possible to be relatively far from a supermarket that offers a wide selection of protein sources, vegetables, and fruits, although I feel like this is more of an American reality that may be difficult to replicate in other parts of the world. Yes, high-quality, nutritious food can be more expensive and less accessible than fast food, especially if we compare the amount of calories obtained/available with each meal.

But still…

Ultimately, to lose weight, you don’t have to eat super clean. The quality of food certainly matters, but it’s not the sole determining factor of success.

In my belief, effective weight loss boils down to having self-control and cultivating proper dietary habits over a long period of time. If you want to know more about why the responsibility for losing weight lies in your hands, I encourage you to read the following post.

Why am I not losing weight?

Weight loss, in a certain context, could be expensive, but only if you choose to make it so. Otherwise, the only thing that will get fatter is your wallet.

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