A recent article by Forbes magazine asked the question “How much is your diet costing you?” and took a close look at seven of the most popular weight loss programs. They figured out how much these plans set you back during your first week of testing them. The presumption is that your first is your most expensive since you have to buy the food, pay any membership costs, or purchase a device like a juicer.
The results may surprise you.
At first glance, you may think that the most restrictive of the diets, like Martha’s Vineyard Diet which consumes the least amount of food, would come in as the least expensive. But Forbes reported that this diet ranked up just as high in dollars for your first week as Weight Watchers, namely about $380. And the cheapest of the seven diet plans? The at-home meal delivery service, NutriSystem. It came in at $72 for women and $82 for men, but keep in mind this total did not include the supplemental fruits and veggies that you are requested to buy and add to your meals.
According to the Census Bureau, the average American family of four has a weekly grocery bill of $254. This does not include any jaunts through the drive-through nor does it include alcohol. So the $380 price tag of the 5-Factor Diet is a hefty one in comparison to what most of us spend on food.
Logic would make you think that dieting would actually keep money in your pockets: By eating less, you’ll be spending less. So why does it cost so much to diet?
For one thing, many of these diets market their brand and if you’re going to follow their diet, you also have to eat their specific “diet” food, whether it is shipped to your door or picked up at a weight-loss center. For those diets that simply lay out a menu that you have to cook and prepare by yourself, the cost of diet food may be more pricey than what you’re used to spending. Lean protein like wild fish, sea scallops, low-glycemic and non-seasonal fruits and veggies like blueberries, raspberries and orange bell peppers and particular spices will take their toll on your grocery bill.
When it comes to money, we Americans aren’t showing any signs of tightening our wallets. We spend about $35 billion dollars a year on diets and weight-loss products. So it may come as no surprise that these diets can cost as much as they do. But do remember that when you’re choosing a diet plan, select one that feels right for your lifestyle, not just because it worked for your favorite celebrity or your next-door neighbor. Remember too that irrespective of eating the shrimp scampi that Fed-Ex delivered to your door or noshing on the green salad and water-packed tuna you made in your kitchen, the key to your dieting success is finding a diet that reduces calories and portion sizes, encourages regular exercise and supports you in making healthy lifestyle changes.
January 9th, 2009