Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Cost of Weight Loss

A common conversation heard among the weight loss community is how much more expensive it is to eat healthy than to eat unhealthy. Processed foods, boxed dinner kits, sugary cereals, and yes, even fast food, are all much, much less expensive than whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean cuts of meat.

It's true. The cost of weight loss is high. Finding the extra money in a tight budget to afford the healthier foods is sometimes very difficult. There are the costs of workout systems, exercise equipment, jogging strollers, yoga mats, vitamins and supplements, running shoes....

There is a huge financial burden associated with weight loss, but there is more. Food is not just fuel, in spite of what we would like to imagine. Let's face it: food is also social. And finding a balance between weight loss and a social life can be difficult and at times impossible.

There are those in our lives that are almost ridiculously supportive. When they have cookouts or gatherings, they are prepared for us to come, and they have healthy alternatives available just for us. They've prepared grilled chicken and have steamed or sauteed vegetables in addition to the burgers, hot dogs, and potato salad.

There are those in our lives that are supportive. When they have cookouts or gatherings, they prepare for their guests as a whole, but they are fully expecting that we will be showing up, chicken and vegetables in hand, and will help us get our food prepared.

And then, there are those in our lives who say they are supportive, but what they really mean is they're supportive as long as we don't change around them. They have their cookouts and get- togethers, and they expect us to be there, but they expect us to eat what they have prepared. They get genuinely offended if we look at the food available and decide that it isn't food we need to be eating for our journey. They say things like, "There's no dieting for my party!" and "One meal isn't going to hurt you."

I am so incredibly grateful for those wonderful people in my life who are in the first two groups. I'm completely unsure of how to handle my loved ones who fall in the third group. I adore these wonderful, amazing people, and as a person who loves to cook and loves to entertain, I can understand why they are proud of the things they have prepared and would like everyone to partake in them. But, as a person who is trying to lose weight and trying to get myself to a healthy lifestyle, I am completely perplexed by their attitudes. It is because I have always taken a "just this one thing won't hurt" attitude towards life that I am where I am with my weight, and if I don't change, I will continue getting the same result. It is unclear to me why that isn't an understood concept across the board.

I'm still trying to find the best way to handle these kinds of situations. The best solution I have come to so far is having a small amount of what is offered, so as not to offend, and trying to work around as much as possible by eating before and after the gathering. I will continue to work toward my goals and I will continue to look for ways to make this all work together with my life.

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