I was talking to a potential client recently about her fat loss and health goals. We’ll call her Amy.

She’s telling me, with some emotion blatantly pushing through, that she has “one last chance” to transition out of her current situation. She’s over 300 pounds, has high blood pressure and is on the verge of being diagnosed with full blown type ii diabetes. She’s on statin drugs and a PPI for heartburn and gastro issues.

On top of those diagnosed ailments, she has joint pain, nagging eczema, and is tired “all the time.”

As I discussed the situation with Amy and started to inquire about her past attempts at transition, one excuse she made for failing to make change previously really stood out to me. I felt angry when I heard it.

She looked at me with a straight face and said, “Eating healthy is too expensive. I’ve never been able to afford to eat better. On top of that, she was balking about investing money to have me help her.”

I’ll admit that this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that (we all have, right?). It’s all about context. And when you understand the context, the argument is silly.

Think about this: here’s someone who has spent tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs to fix problems caused by her diet and lifestyle and she’s telling me—without any hint of sarcasm—that grass-fed beef and vegetables are too expensive. That spending a few hundred dollars for me to help her is too costly.

How much does it cost annually to use statins and PPIs?

How much does one upper endoscopy cost?

How much is an ultrasound?

Insulin? Needles? Strips and monitors? Dialysis?

This isn’t a, “yeah, well cancer is expensive too!” article. You probably ran the numbers and you’re willing to bet that you won’t get cancer so its of no concern to you. Fine. Now run the cost of the routine procedures that are getting done like clockwork in this country to scout out issues caused by nothing other than food and lifestyle.

And if you do get a diagnosis of any of the dozens of preventable diseases, choose any number between one and fifty and multiply. Shitty game, isn’t it?

This country spent 245 billion dollars on diabetes ALONE in one year (2012). That’s a 41% increase over 2007.

Don’t think you’ll get diabetes either? Fine, how about simple heartburn? 10 billion a year, just for the drugs. 

I’m not finished though.

There’s something about the word “expensive” that us neolithic humans view narrowly. For us, it’s all about money. But eating crap food is vastly expensive in other ways.

When you’re overweight and struggling with body image issues that consume your life by altering your personality in social situations — or that cause you to avoid social situations altogether — that’s socially expensive.

When those body image issues cause you to engage in negative self talk, self-hatred, and to feel immense shame, that’s emotionally expensive.

When all of that baggage manipulates how you interact with the people you love, that’s relationally expensive.

When you’re too tired, big, sore, inflamed, or out of shape to play with your kids, that’s developmentally expensive…for them.

When you’re older and completely lose mobility and independence and your family has to put you in a special home or personally care for you, what will those social, emotional, relational, and financial expenses add up to for everyone involved?

And why? Because grass-fed beef is a couple more dollars per pound and coconut oil is more expensive than soybean oil? Because stuff that comes in a wrapper or from a drive through window is more convenient? Because Total Body Reboot is “out of your price range?”

How much do those social, emotional, and relational expenses add up to? Now pile on the financial expenses we talked about. Calculator broken yet?

Here’s me holding you accountable: “Eating healthy is too expensive” is a superbly shallow excuse.

And if you’ve got an iPhone, a car note, a Starbucks card, and loads of consumer debt, I arrive at the conclusion that the most expensive thing in your life right now is your lack of priorities.

Real food, a healthy lifestyle, and coaching could be 1000% more expensive and you’d still come out ahead. I could charge $15,000 for Total Body Reboot and you’d still come out tens—and possibly hundreds—of thousands of dollars ahead in the long run.

And you can’t put a price on the mental and emotional benefits. If you do, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

You’re a smart person. Don’t let shallow excuses force you to put the word expensive in context. While I’ll always wish you wealth and health, I mostly want to wish you insight so you can see for yourself. 

Let’s put this excuse to bed, okay? As the saying goes, you can pay now or you can pay later. Later is exponentially more expensive. The people who think “it won’t happen to me” are living in a fantasy world.

Comments

  • Wenchypoo says:

    From personal experience with diabetic cats (pre-Paleo), Sam’s Club sells insulin at $45/bottle for generic insulin, and about $14/box for 100 needles. A bottle of insulin will not last a human an entire month–it lasted me about 3 weeks @ 6 units X 2 shots/day (and that’s just one cat!).

    How can you NOT afford to NOT buy something? This girl isn’t shopping correctly–she’s trained herself to focus on the LARGE PRINT shelf price, when she should be looking in the corner for the UNIT PRICE. Shopping by unit price helps people do comparisons right there in the aisle to find the cheapest item in a category of items–without using coupons, and without ping-ponging around town to several stores trying to find the lowest price.

    She also obviously hasn’t tried gardening, CSAs, farmer’s markets, or group buying. Nor has she looked into what and where a SNAP card can be used (if she uses one)–health food stores take them, as do some farmer’s market vendors. SNAP also covers seeds for gardening/sprouting, as well as a whole range of foods we eat: avocados, coconut milk, meats (she can eat leaner cuts), eggs, coconut oil, and the whole wide world of veggies.

    If she’d only eat more fat, and less carbs, she wouldn’t need so much food to make it through the month…PORK RINDS, for heaven’s sake!! And SNAP covers those too.

  • Buzz Park says:

    Great article and very true. But even if she skimped on the grass-fed beef and bought non-organic produce, she would STILL lose a ton of fat by eliminating the sugars and grains from her diet. Heck, she can even do that much in the drive through! Of course this wouldn’t be ideal, but it could be a great start for her and doesn’t really cost any more.

    So really, it would seem that the expense excuse is just a smokescreen we have for not wanting to change.

    On our family’s journey, we’re taking it one step at a time, first eliminating the TYPES of foods that are making us fat, such as grains, all sugars, bad oils, tropical fruits (we’re in stage 1), starchy carbs (stage 1), etc. And then we’ll be focusing on improving the QUALITY of what we eat over time, such as organic produce, grass-fed beef, etc. This has made the transition easier and more simple. And it eliminates the “too expensive” excuse from our supply of excuses not to succeed.

  • Krista haller says:

    I admit that I was once of this mindset—and as I have made this transition, I will admit there is a bit of a “sticker shock” that happens. But when I step back at the bigger picture—i am eating out WAY less. And the food i am buying, is food i am actually ENJOYING vs. just eating mindlessly. Living in Alaska, i have had to get creative, and also let go of my perfectionist attitude of purchasing only grass-fed beef. So I buy ghee and pantry staples off amazon, and purchase organic meats (grass fed when on sale).

    I can’t say that my husband misses all the coffee-charges on the credit card! 🙂

    • Kevin Geary says:

      Awesome Krista — yes, it’s all about perspective. The eating out less thing alone is wonderful simply from a health standpoint.

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