With over 50% of the UK population currently on a diet, or wanting to attempt a diet it can be easy to overlook how much this actually costs.
We aren't just talking about the cost to you financially, but socially and time-wise too.
Let's take a look at the biggest names on the UK diet scene at the moment: Weight Watchers (now branded as WW, wellness that works); Slimming World and Noom.
Weight watchers (WW)
Digital membership = £13.95/month + a £10 start up fee = £177.40 in the first year
Workshop and digital = £22.95/month + a £10 start up fee = £275.40 in the first year
Group membership: Totalling around £262.40 in the first year.
Online membership: Bronze, silver or Gold memberships between £60-85 for the first 3 months and £20 a month thereafter totalling around £240-265/year
Noom seems like a relatively new weight loss plan on the market, but the American company have a staggering 45 million subscribers to their service and have been in business for over 10 years. Noom claim to be a weight loss plan without "dieting" (Which is confusing and questionable). The pricing information was a little more difficult to come by and despite filling in a lengthy application form I still couldn't access the information easily, it appears that plans cost around £40 per month. If you sign up for a year that's potentially £480.
Adding to the cost of the plans themselves are the cost of any special products, an increase in fresh produce to bulk out meals, branded recipe books and possibly new clothes.
The average gym membership costs around £40/month in the UK which is £480 annually which can be another price tag on the cost of your health.
Plus, around half of all people who sign up for gyms stop going within the first 6 months, so it may not be something you want to keep up with if you're not really feeling it or alternatively you may want to consider doing some pay as you go classes if you're a less frequent user. Don't forget the gym isn't the only place where you can improve your fitness.
Whilst on the subject of financial implications, keep your eyes peeled for any hidden cancellation fees for diet plans and gym memberships.
Add the gym cost to the cost of dieting and the total is running above and beyond £750 per year and that's without all the specialist products, equipment and banded recipe books!
I'm not saying gym memberships are bad by the way - I love using the gym when I feel inspired, but I know from my experience working in gyms that people may sign up with good intentions but the membership card can often sit as an expensive one in a person's purse or wallet if it's not being used.
Quite possibly our single most precious resource is time. It's limited. So why should we spend our precious hours constantly fretting over food, feeling guilty for "falling off the wagon" or not sticking to the diet?
Diet plans and exercise regimens themselves take time..
Time spent learning rules
What foods you can and can't have
What recipes taste like your favourite dessert
Time spent trying to recreate said dessert
Time spent sourcing obscure ingredients like water noodles and powdered peanut butter
Time spent meal prepping
Time spent feeling bad/guilty/shame for feeling hungry
Time spent thinking about food (we know that dieting increases thoughts about food)
Time spent calorie counting/macro tracking/activity tracking.
Extra time spent working out, waking up early or going to bed early - admittedly not the worst use of time, but should be factored in nonetheless.
Reduced downtime and reduction in hours of productivity (see above statement about time spent thinking about food).
The final expenditure to diet plans include the social trade offs that are made when we embark on a weight loss plan or diet.
Think about the strains that are put on relationships when a person says they are not going out to eat or attend a social event because the catering doesn't fit with their meal plan.
Over the cost of let's say 32 years (accounting for dieting aged 18-50) that could be a whopping £5,676 - £15,360 just in weight loss memberships alone, or as high as 30,720 if a gym membership is thrown in there too!
Let's get real here too... Diets do not work.
Research has shown that approximately 95% of the time, any weight lost on a diet is typically regained within five years (that means that 95% of people undertaking diets are giving away their money in exchange for..... What?)
Diets are linked with:
Food and body preoccupation
Disordered eating and eating disorders in some people
Diets are generally not sustainable and the main issue with them is that they do not help people to have a healthier relationship with food or their bodies. We also know that yo-yo dieting can lead to and increase in diabetes risk and can lead to weight gain over time.
What if this didn't have to be the case?
What if people can have food freedom, enjoying all foods without guilt and listening to internal cues instead of the external ones such as diet rules? What if we ditched the scale and focused on healthier habits instead of weight?
No rules to break = no guilt!
Want to know more? If this resonated with you and you want to talk about this more, feel free to drop me an email and say "Hi" (EDIT: you can also say hi at Your Food Freedom Community Facebook Group - join a community of like-minded humans)
Plus, sign up here for the FREE 8 week course - The 8 Pillars to a Food Freedom Lifestyle starting 9th September 2020 - I can't wait to meet you! (EDIT: course now closed - sign up to the mailing list to hear about our future courses)
Please note: The information in this article is not a substitute for professional medical or dietetic advice - if you have concerns regarding your health, please speak to your doctor. See the full disclaimer here.
ABOUT DIETITIAN KIRSTY
Dietitian Kirsty is a registered UK based dietitian and the founder of Your Health and Lifestyle Ltd. A company designed to support people to reconnect with their innate intuitive eater, practicing self-care, and discover food freedom.
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