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Monday, 4 March 2013

The cost of healthy living

Talking with a friend over coffee and breakfast on Saturday morning and as always we end up on the topic of healthy living.

It is something that is very important to both of us, as we both are on a journey to better ourselves.

For my friend, health at the moment is of particular importance as she wants to start a family. Unfortunately she was told that she has poly cystic ovary syndrome (I hope I spelt that right) and needs to lose weight in order to make this manageable and in order to conceive.

This was a huge blow to her, as she has always wanted children and now just when she is in the right spot (partner, home, age etc) her weight is holding her back.

About the same time as she received this news I started personal training and focusing on my weight loss, so when we catch up it is almost a check in and time to go over our mistakes and seek support from one another.

She is probably one of the few friends that I will openly discuss my weight/health journey.

One of the points that we were talking about is that she had just done some sessions with my personal trainer, but because she cannot afford them she won't be going back.

I understand that not everyone has the money to spend on a trainer, I understand that not everyone needs a trainer. But for people like me that do, and I think that my friend does too, it is one of the best things you can do, and well worth the cost.

People often baulk when I tell them how much I spend on training, despite the fact that my trainer is actually quite cheap when compared to many of the others out there. Often when I tell them the cost, the answer I often hear is, "I don't know how you afford it". Which infers that they can't afford it.

Most people (at least the ones I talk to) believe that they can't afford to have a trainer and to eat healthy. The reality is of course, that they can. They are on a similar wage to me, they have similar bills to me, so how is it that I can afford it and they can't. The truth is they can.

When I go into all the benefits, most people will nod their head and agree and then walk away. All they think about is the immediate cost.

So what if it costs a little now? If it stops you from having to buy expensive clothes because you have limited options, if it means that you can play with your children, go out with your friends, enjoy your holidays more, enjoy sitting, walking, climbing stairs easier, take less medication, go to the doctors less, you don't need radical weight loss surgery, or die ridiculously young from a heart attack.

So what if it costs a little now?

My training session costs $30 for an hour, I do that twice a week. That is $60 a week.
I do boxing once a week as well, that is only $10 a session.

That's $70 a week on my health. That doesn't sound like much. That would be less than the amount most of my friends would spend on clothes, alcohol, a night out, dinner, getting their hair done, their nails done, a pair of shoes, their tans, waxing etc

All of which they do without thinking about the cost.

Now I am not saying I do not do some of the above, but the difference is that I put those second to my health. There are ways to to do all of those things cheaper, especially if you cut out alcohol. But even if you do not, you could do some things at home yourself rather than going to a salon.

You could host a party at your house, rather than paying the expensive entry fee and drinks when you go out. You could simply reduce the number of times you go out. You could sell off the clothes/shoes that you no longer wear on ebay or gumtree. You could host a clothes swap with your friends if you are similar sizes- this is a great way to get your hands on those dresses your friends own and you have been eyeing off!

There are a million different ways you can cut costs so that you can afford a healthier lifestyle. Eating organically costs more up front but goes a lot further. A bag of apples will last you all week as opposed to a packet of Tim Tams (chocolate biscuits for those not from Aus) that will disappear in seconds once they're opened.

So next time, think about the costs. Long term and short term. Weigh up what is more important to you, and what you can live without.

Maybe personal training isn't for you and you can go for a jog each day or work out to a DVD instead. That's great! I'm jealous!

But it is important not to trick yourself into thinking you can do it on your own, when you need help, seek it. It is your life, your body and you get to choose what you get out of it. Make sure you make the best decision for you, long term and short term.

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