As far as I can tell, there have been three times in my life when I have lost a total of 30 pounds. There have been other pounds lost over the years, in smaller increments: ten pounds here, twenty there. This most recent round is due to Weight Watchers and a mild winter that lends itself to long walks, and those walks have given me the chance to think about the worth of this, and about how much have I spent over the course of my lifetime to get healthy.
Because losing weight and money for me are inextricably linked. But that might not be entirely my fault. Billions of dollars every year are spent on people trying to lose weight. There is an industry that has long linked the pursuit of health with the ability to spend money on it. The Biggest Loser pays its winner $250,000 dollars for losing the highest percentage of weight. The show also pays its contestants for avoiding temptation; or, even worse, giving into it: $10,000 if you eat this cupcake; $20,000 if you down the whole pizza.
But even the systems that are set up to make people healthy equate weight loss with economic value. The ultimate goal in Weight Watchers, for example, is reaching Lifetime — the name they give to members who have successfully maintained their goal weight (plus or minus two pounds) for two months or more. The reward for reaching Lifetime? Free membership. Well, as long as you stay within that two-pound margin of error.
But there is no such thing as a free lunch, right? Even weight loss methods that seem less expensive in the short-term can have huge hidden costs. Starvation, for example, is deceptively expensive...
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