Weight has become an eternal problem. Be it because of our lifestyles that have become sedentary, our eating habits that constantly flirt with the unhealthy, or even plain old body image – weight management always seems to crop up in our list of issues.
So it’s not surprising that the world is full of ways to deal with this ‘large’ problem. Some swear by the latest fads like ketogenic diets and paleo diets, while others believe that running full speed on treadmills will get them to the hallowed land faster.
Being prudent about weight loss is far more important than shedding those pounds. Money spent here must be money earned.
Here are some broad ways people choose to address weight issues and how they can be a detrimental choice.
1. Exercise and workouts:
Sounds, and is, practical; it is after all the healthiest and safest way to get rid of extra pounds. There is nothing better than going old school, lacing up, and going for a run to sweat it out. But here are ways you end up overspending:
- When you overdo the workout in well-intentioned ignorance. That’s when you injure yourself, end up quitting the gym and packing those pounds back on.
- Joining the gym just before an event or a holiday, just because you want to get that bikini bod. You achieve your weight loss goal while the carrot was danglin’. But now with all that a distant memory, the money you paid for the personal trainer has gone down the drain.
- You sign up for long-term classes, before checking whether your schedule or work commitments allow you to make that time. You think you are saving money, but you miss way too many classes to make it worth your time or money.
Average cost: S$300 per month. Exclusive classes can go up to S$15-S$20 per class
2. Detox and cleansing:
Too lazy to sweat it out? Enter the shady world of detox premixes and cleansing drinks. These recipes, as long as you keep them simple, natural and in moderation, help you clean up and shed a few pounds as well. But the moment you cross the space from logical to crazy obsessive, you find yourself at a risk of malnutrition and an overdose or poisoning from whatever ingredients the drink is made of. Here’s how you end up wasting your hard-earned cash:
- Though there is a whole list of organic and super safe juices in the market, some of them can actually get you into trouble – think low sugar and low blood pressure. So short-term gain may end up bringing in long-term loss.
- Some cleansing and detoxes are not to be consumed, but to be inserted in the body with the aim of releasing toxins, ultimately leading to a thinner you. Not too appetizing, yes? And could well be dangerous.
Average cost: A typical 3-day juice cleanse costs around S$300
The obsession with dieting has become the bane of our existence. People ignore the basics of food consumption, which is ‘moderation’. Instead, they choose to starve themselves for days on end, start counting calories, and become obsessed with labels on food jars after they figure out that pigging out leads to gain in weight.
The diet industry has obviously caught on to this strange trait and offers quick fixes like losing multiple kilos in a few weeks – this is not only unhealthy but actually unsafe at times. Any diet that eliminates a particular nutrient from your routine, one that is not spread over a significant length of time, or one that insists that you consume unnamed premixes, is bound to be dangerous for you.
Average cost: Your grocery bill can go up by S$50 to S$100 per month, depending on the ingredients of your diet
4. Tablets and chemicals:
Weight loss tablets – something that you resort to only if you are grossly uninformed, like to take risks with your health, or simply too lazy to work on an option that takes effort. Using these can actually lead you to a hospital bed since some tablets are not approved and extremely dangerous.
People have been known to suffer from anorexia after using appetite suppressing pills. Also, given the cocktail of chemicals involved, they become dangerous to use for people suffering from certain medical problems.
Average cost: Herbal teas cost about S$1 per tea bag, while slimming pills start at S$20 for a box of 90, and S$400 for 15 pills for an illegal appetite suppressant.
This is a drastic, unsafe, and a very expensive option. Gastric bypasses or cosmetic surgeries for fat removal are an extreme step to be undertaken only if nothing else works. These invasive procedures should be considered if recommended by a doctor in cases where the excess weight threatens your health directly. It can be a costly mistake if you try it just because you wanted to ‘look good’.
Average cost: Liposuction can cost anywhere between S$4200 and S$9,100. Tummy tucks cost about S$8,700, but renowned surgeons are known to charge between S$14,000 to S$30,000 as well.
5 reasons that weight loss programmes can be a waste of money:
- Diets are difficult to maintain: A lot of diets are difficult to maintain because they use crash programmes, which are easy to follow in the beginning since you are brimming with enthusiasm and energy. But the programme gets increasingly difficult as the crash diet begins to take a toll on your body. Usually, you boomerang and end up kicking the diet and binging till you put all the weight back on again.
- Watch out for frauds: You get lured into a programme with the promise of a ‘new’ you, along with a reasonable invitation price. As the diet or workout programme progresses, you get more and more involved. This is when they start to fleece you, asking for more money for the next step. It is an old trick – to corner a person in a vulnerable position. You have already invested a huge chunk, so you give in and cough up that next instalment.
- Loyalty programmes may be a sham: Some diets and workouts fleece you through the loyalty programme. Once you have committed financially to a loyalty programme, you get drawn in further, and eventually, it becomes a compulsory thing whether or not the programme works.
- Short-term fixes do not work: Know this – any programme that promises quick results cannot be healthy for you. Sure, you may lose weight quickly during the initial period, but it is going to be at a physical cost, some effects of which you will notice immediately, and others, as you grow older. Think high blood pressure, sugar problems, and joint pains.
- Don’t follow the latest fad: Like the garment fashion cycle, every season sees the launch of a new weight loss technique. It becomes the latest fad, with super fit people promoting it and premium prices indicating its valuable worth! Just remember, it’s only the next fad which is the same thing as last year, but with a new name and branding. Don’t get taken in, because like all things fashionable, it will be mighty expensive and a total waste of your money.
This is not to say that weight loss regimens are all fraudulent – some of them work and people have benefited for their health, looks, and lifestyle. The trick is to be sensible and use your common sense. Avoid anything that’s drastic and short-term, uses chemicals, or promotes unnecessary surgeries. Go for what sounds logical, doable, holistic, and healthy, even if it takes double the time. Being thin is one thing and being healthy is quite another – know the difference!