The cost of (un)healthy living

Have you ever seen an item in a store and thought, “Who would spend money on THAT?” I certainly have.

While we all base our buying decisions on our personal tastes, I think we also take great consideration in what will bring us the greatest return on our investment.

So, in the day of watching expenses, who can afford to be healthy? We buy these fruits and vegetables, only to have them deteriorate after a week (Beanie Weenies last forever!). Gym memberships and personal training sessions cost money, money that can be spent on fast food and larger clothes. And the cost of water! Okay, water’s pretty cheap. Still, though.

What if the fruits and vegetables were eaten before they rotted? What if we ate less and healthier and didn’t have to throw out the favorite clothing that once looked so good on us? What if we made our lunches every day and saved $10 ($200 per month)?

It’s always good to know where money is spent, regardless of where we spend it. But, most of us are not comparing apples to apples when we look at our budgets. The cost of a shirt or a movie should not be compared to the cost of whole grains or exercise. We need to know what we’re measuring when we begin analyzing our spending.

How much is the cost of sickness? How about the cost of missing work due to illness or injury? How much is the cost of losing days upon days of our lives because we feel miserable? How about our health care premiums? Prescriptions?

Seventy percent of illnesses are weight related and can be prevented with a healthy diet and exercise. For a $4.25 package of cookies, 12 apples can be purchased which will provide fiber, strengthen bones, lower bad cholesterol and aid in fighting several cancers.

A turkey sandwich for lunch involves the cost of bread (10 cents per slice), the substantial serving of turkey (50 cents), cheese (10 cents per slice), an apple (35 cents) and a yogurt (75 cents). That’s $1.90. When is the last time anyone ate out for $1.90 AND was fully confident they had just enjoyed a healthy meal?

Who can afford to be healthy?  A better question is who can afford NOT to be healthy?

Jeff Howerton is a trainer and owner of LEAN Personal Training, where he and his trainers work with clients to lose fat, develop lean muscle and implement strategies for healthier living. LEAN (615) 279-1900 or

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