Wouldn’t it be great if we could eat anything we want, with no repercussions to our health?
For me, it would be pizza heaven. Yes, I would revert back to late-night college food habits when it comes to that favorite of mine. Maybe I’d have some quality Mexican food as well. Who knows, some really good Thai food would have to be included as well. Desert would be great too, with chocolate cake, apple pie, etc.
Unfortunately, you and I know that this can’t happen without consequences to our health.
Not to mention the impact on our net worth.
A while back, I wrote a piece called “How Much Would You Pay to Lose 10 Pounds?” Squirrelers was newer then, and it’s been some time, so I thought I’d revisit the topic but view it from a different angle. Basically, what I’m suggesting is the concept of a monetary cost for every excess calorie we consume.
First off, let’s make some assumptions. We’ll say that an average person can eat up to 2,000 calories and maintain weight, while gaining one pound for every 3,000 excess calories. Let’s also say that it takes 1 hour of exercise to burn 200 more calories than while being sedentary. Keep in mind these are just assumptions for the sake of example, and actual figures probably vary from this.
Anyway, with these assumptions, let’s consider the case of someone who has gained 5 pounds and wants to lose it. That seems better than 10J Well, if the person wants to keep that normal maintenance intake of 2,000 calories, but wants to lose weight by exercise, it would take 15,000 calories worth of exercise to reduce by 5 pounds.
To burn those 15,000 calories by exercise alone, strictly considering this basic example and not factoring in anything else, it would take 75 hours of exercise. That’s a lot of exercise, isn’t it!
Well, as we know, time is money. There are opportunity costs for our time of course, so let’s say that we earn $30.00 per hour when working ($60,000 annual salary). This is what we are typically compensated in wages for our professional time.
If you do the math, based on our normal hourly wage, it’s costing us $2,250 of our time to lose those 5 pounds. This equates to $450 per pound. Taking the next step, this equates to $0.15 per calorie.
So, taking a day-to-day example, let’s say we’re done with dinner and finished eating for the day, and have hit that 2,000 calorie mark. Then, we decide to have a bowl of ice cream for desert in the evening. Let’s say that cone is 300 calories. Well, the cost of that cone might be interpreted as being $4.50 from a value of time perspective in terms of losing the weight eventually. When you add in the cost you paid for the food itself, it’s probably over $5 for that treat.
Now, I’m no dietician or physician, so these assumptions and figures are for illustrative example purposes. But the concept at play here is that aside from the cost to our health, we’re incurring cost of our time and effort when overindulging and putting on the pounds that we want to lose.
Believe me, I’m as guilty of this as the next person. When I view things this way, however, it gets more motivating to keep up good habits.
Questions for You:
What do you think of this premise? Have you ever taken a look at health/nutrition costs in a similar way?