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The High Cost of Obesity

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I'm not talking about health. I'm talking about bucks. It costs money to be healthy, but it costs more to be obese. Check out this information.

* Clothes - Let's take JC Penney, which is a middle of the road retailer that covers Juniors, Misses and Women's sizes. I looked up a white shirt for each size.
Juniors: $20
Misses: $22.50
Women's (sizes 16 - 26): $25
Women's (size 28 and up; I had to go outside of JC Penney to find it): $30

Now, this isn't exactly apples to apples but not only do the larger sizes step up in price but they also tend to step down in quality and selection. I'm 45 years old. Even if I diet and exercise for the next 20 years, fitting back into Junior sizes is not likely. This is not due to a lack of will, it's more due to the inevitable sagging that goes along with being 45. But even if you pull out the Juniors, the size to price differences are still pretty glaring. The size 28 shirt is 25% more than the Misses shirt, and it's also 20% more than even a size 26!

* Food - Of course, when you're obese, you eat more. But you may also be eating out more. Here's a little scary math.
Most people work about 240 days per year. That's 52 5-day weeks minus 2 weeks (or, 10 days) for vacations and another 10 days for various holidays.

How much does lunch cost in your office? Is it $5? $8? $12? $15? More? It's rarely less unless you bring your own. That $5/day lunch? It's costing $1,080 per year! A $15/day lunch costs a whopping $3,240 over the course of a year.

What about breakfast? Lots of people buy it at work. It might be less expensive but you've still got a big whole in your wallet at the end of the year. Also, what about snacks? Vending machine, anyone? A few dollars here and there and they add up quickly.

If the day's costs total an average of $20 then over the course of a year you are handing over $4,800. This is after-tax money. It is money that is not going to savings, mortgage (or rent), car payments, credit card debt, education or even tickets to sporting events.

Bringing lunch or breakfast or both breaks the cycle. Food isn't free, even if you grow it yourself there's often some sort of cost. But often you can get good breakfasts and lunches for a week for a good $20 - $40. And $40 for a week of homemade/brought in food means you're eating like a superstar. $40/week -- the luxury end of bringing in your own food -- runs to less than $2,000/year. That other $2,800 plus goes to whatever you want.

* Career - here it's a bit trickier. Who's to say whether there is discrimination due to size? It's easy to accuse but hard to prove. However, job applicants who appear to be less well-groomed or less disciplined often aren't hired.

What's the cost of not being hired? Missed opportunities are hard to quantify but we all know the feeling of rejection. And we also know that looking for work, if it takes a certain length of time, tips into the applicant having a harder and harder time finding work. Underemployment, anyone? What's the cost of THAT?

And what about folks who are already employed? What of them? There are also, possibly, missed opportunities. It's the raises that don't come, or the promotions that are delayed and then forgotten. It's the credit that isn't forthcoming. Being obese often means being the largest invisible entity in a room.

What's the bottom line? You guessed it -- it ain't easy being heavy. And it's costly, too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNOTFATHOM 4/3/2008 12:11PM

    Quite an eye opener!


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JESPAH 4/3/2008 6:38AM

    Hear, here! :)

I was inspired to do the lunch calculations thing about 20 years ago when I barely had two nickels to rub together. I brought in peanut butter and sprout sandwiches (yeah, I was more of a vegetarian then) every single day. It was boring but I was able to pay my rent. And that was back when you really could get lunch for about $4 a day if you ate in a caf.

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AHHHME 4/3/2008 12:13AM

    I hear ya Sister! Let's lose some weight and get the big bucks. ;)

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Your Head Needs a Rest

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

It's April Fools' Day. Go nuts!

Well, not too nuts. Not nuts involving extra food. Funny how we sometimes (and, maybe, a lot of the time), think of food first when we think of fun times, celebrations, holidays and other assorted bits of kicking back. And that's, well, that's so ingrained it isn't funny. It's like it's in our DNA strands, just above the part where it says we think Chia pets are funny and just below the part where it says we get assigned two eyes.

When my work assignment was announced as ending, after people expressed sympathy and offered to help, the discussion turned to: what do you want to eat for your farewell lunch? Unfortunately, whatever happens it'll probably be a dieting minefield or something that I don't like. Or both.

There's a fish place, a testing kitchen with a rotating menu and a hugely overpriced, overhyped steak house in the area. I despise the steak house (I don't eat red meat anyway, and pretensions leave me cold) but many of my coworkers love, love, love it plus I suspect that the other person whose contract was termed may like it and my understanding is that it's to be a joint lunch. Personally, I'd prefer the fish place but that's still a minefield as almost everything there is fried. The testing kitchen is more of a mystery.

Hence I'll most likely have to deal with the steak house. I'm sure they have salads and the like and I gotta hope that I can get something without bacon or beef strips or whatever they toss on top of a salad there. Everything is so over the top and garish that it's hard not to see that as a possibility.

I realize I'm overthinking this but I do try to be prepared as that is a strategy that has been working very well for me.

Anyway, as I look for work, take my possessions home and otherwise distance myself from there I also feel myself more and more able to get back on my feet. I just hope there's a job out there for me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 4/2/2008 6:31AM

    Hey, Miss Meliss,

M'last day is 4/11. I definitely know the drill -- this is not the first time I've had a job end. This one is a little different because I'm not laid off. It's just the contractual assignment is ending. Technically, the agency I work for is supposed to be looking for something for me, but they are none too optimistic. And if I don't bring in billings, after a certain amount of time (a week? two weeks? a month? two months? No one knows or is talking), they'll cut me loose for real.

I have some prospects -- it's not totally dismal out there -- but it's not rosy, either.

And I know what you mean about it feeling weird. It certainly does....

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AHHHME 4/2/2008 1:02AM

    I'm sorry you're losing your place there! It has happened to me several times over the years and it never gets easier really. The part I hate the most is the waiting for it to be over. Once I know I'm leaving, I want to go! hahaha! If the lunch is anything like mine was, it will be bittersweet and when you finally have all your stuff and you don't have to go back there - a big weight will lift off your shoulders! You know why - because you're free! You can move on to your next adventure - meet new people and do new/interesting work. You'll find something you like faster than you think. The coolest part is that it will be new, different and more exciting than what you've been doing. I really think it's great that you are planning your food ahead - that should definitely help. You'll be a lot less likely to make bad food choices because you're stressed or whatever. Is your lunch tomorrow? When is your last day? I'm not trying to pry - just want you to know that I'm here if you need to chat. Best wishes, Melissa

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Why you want to move so fast

Monday, March 31, 2008

I've had a good week -- a VERY good week -- 6 lbs. off and the slump or plateau or me feeling sorry for myself or whatever you want to call it is long gone. In its place is the knowledge that I'm over halfway to my intermediate goal (the one on the ticker) and only 1.4 lbs. from my second minigoal. Once I hit that one, I'll be 10% down from my original body weight. Cool. :)

The song actually refers to a method of weighing that I see not only here but also on alli forums. People becoming as, well, to be blunt about it, as nekkid as a jaybird before weighing themselves. And to that I say, "Who are you kidding?"

Now, there are some clothes that have some weight. Anything that you could call outerwear, any type of shoe, denim items, heavy wool items, most leather items, most pants not included in any other category, and heavy sweats, both tops and bottoms. I suppose you could conceivably also wear enough jewelry for it to make a difference.

If you were Mr. T, that is.

Definitely take those off before you weigh yourself. But after that, it's ridiculous. Does anyone honestly -- honestly? -- think that the removal of their underpants would create a readable difference on a scale?

They would have to weigh over an ounce for anything to register on a digital scale. Why? Because there are 16 ounces in a pound. Every ounce is a big 6.25% of a pound. But every mark on a digital scale -- at least on my digital scale -- is in the one-tenth increment. Hence you'd have to be pulling off one and two-thirds ounces in order to, get this, make a difference of one-tenth on a digital scale.

Do all of your clothes that remain (once you've removed the bling, etc.) equal or exceed one and two-thirds of an ounce? Maybe ALL of them together do. Maybe. I mean, what do I wear? A cotton or poly shirt, socks, usually a long underwear bottom (because Winter is apparently The Neverending Story here this year), undergarments, a pony tail holder and my glasses. I'd be shocked if, all together, all of that stuff even hits one big old ounce.

And you know something? I seriously doubt that it matters anyway. So I'd be, what, one-tenth of a pound lighter, maybe two-tenths if I weighed this way. Big fat hairy deal.

So to all of you who feel the need to strip beyond whatever Sally Rand used to do before you get on the scale, get a grip, people. It doesn't matter much, if at all. Plus it's cold.

You don't have to take your clothes all off. You'll still weigh in just fine. Really.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 4/1/2008 6:51PM

    Well, I admit I do weigh before eating anything -- first thing in the AM on Monday. Get up, do the usual ablutions and hit the scale. :)

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THEBLUEGIRL 4/1/2008 6:43PM

    I am amused :) However I do have to say I always weigh myself naked, before eating anything. It's partially cause I know how much my weight will fluctuate so I need be consistent about it. But you are right we don't have to take our clothes off !!

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At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I've always loved this silly little song, and I'll reproduce the lyrics below because the singer is essentially rapping (in the '70s, no less!) and it can be hard to hear everything he's saying. There are a lot of interesting little references that have nothing to do with music, Like "Friends and Romans, salutations", which is -- ha! -- a Shakespearean reference! Wacky.

Anyway -- today I'm up a big .2 lbs. since yesterday. And to that I say, "Whoop-de-freakin'-do!" So what? It's not much, just the usual old fluctuations. It's Monday mornings that matter, as that's when I check in.

Hence I've developed a new mantra: The weight gods taketh away, and the weight gods giveth. They might even give some more after tonights' fajita dinner at Border Café. Eh, no problem. I'm okay with little blips. This road has a few bumps in it. But that's okay; that makes it more interesting.

Oh and here are the lyrics I promised:

Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me) by Reunion:

B.B. Bumble and the Stingers, Mott the Hoople, Ray Charles Singers
Lonnie Mack and twangin' Eddy, here's my ring we're goin' steady
Take it easy, take me higher, liar liar, house on fire
Locomotion, Poco, Passion, Deeper Purple, Satisfaction
Baby baby gotta gotta gimme gimme gettin' hotter
Sammy's cookin', Lesley Gore and Ritchie Valens, end of story
Mahavishnu, fujiyama, kama-sutra, rama-lama
Richard Perry, Spector, Barry, Archies, Righteous, Nilsson, Harry
Shimmy shimmy ko-ko bop and Fats is back and Finger Poppin'

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

FM, AM, hits are clickin' while the clock is tock-a-tickin'
Friends and Romans, salutations, Brenda and the Tabulations
Carly Simon, I behold her, Rolling Stones and centerfoldin'
Johnny Cash and Johnny Rivers, can't stop now, I got the shivers
Mungo Jerry, Peter Peter Paul and Paul and Mary Mary
Dr. John the nightly tripper, Doris Day and Jack the Ripper
Gotta go Sir, gotta swelter, Leon Russell, Gimme Shelter
Miracles in smokey places, slide guitars and Fender basses
Mushroom omelet, Bonnie Bramlett, Wilson Pickett, stop and kick it

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

Arthur Janov's primal screamin', Hawkins, Jay and
Dale and Ronnie, Kukla, Fran and Norma Okla
Denver, John and Osmond, Donny
JJ Cale and ZZ Top and LL Bean and De De Dinah
David Bowie, Steely Dan and sing me prouder, CC Rider
Edgar Winter, Joanie Sommers, Osmond Brothers, Johnny Thunders
Eric Clapton, pedal wah-wah, Stephen Foster, do-dah do-dah
Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Surfer Girl and Little Honda
Tighter, tighter, honey, honey, sugar, sugar, yummy, yummy
CBS and Warner Brothers, RCA and all the others

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

Listen--remember, they're playing our song!
Rock it, sock it, Alan Freed me, Murray Kaufman, try to leave me
Fish, and Swim, and Boston Monkey,
Make it bad and play it funky.
(Wanna take you higher!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 3/30/2008 11:51AM

    Thanks, Penny!

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CANNOTFATHOM 3/30/2008 11:34AM

    Great song! Thanks for posting the lyrics!


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And I am starting to feel it's right

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Well, the hips don't lie (although I confess as I was watching the video, Shakira sounded a lot like Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries and that's just plain weird). Mine are bigger than they should be.

I noticed this (well, I've noticed this for a while, but it was really brought home for me this way) while trying on my interview clothes. Yes, it's that time again.

Everything fit as needed but some of the blouses bowed out at the hips. Hence unless I tuck them I can't wear them. And I'm gonna have to wear them as I'll need some options. Plus what happens if I'm still interviewing into the hot summer months? I can't be wearing long sleeves or even three-quarter sleeves in June and July. I have similar issues with blazers but if I leave them unbuttoned no one would notice.

But that doesn't detract from the fact that I could wear, um, five suits! Plus I have a skirt which is snug but I could fake it if I really had to. I'll be fitting into that one -- without faking it -- in less than a month, I figure.

I am stressed about not knowing my job situation. No question! But I'm still watching my food intake, still exercising, still drinking the water. And -- as should be no great surprise -- still losing weight!

I am coming up on my second goal, which will also make me more than halfway to my 60 lb. intermediate goal (the one on the ticker -- but I'll extend the ticker once I've made it). I'm not gonna let stress and a change in job circumstances keep me from getting where I need to go.

In the meantime, perhaps I'll belly dance like Dolores -- I mean Shakira -- in the video. I am part Spanish, but it's Sephardi. Not exactly the same.

What the hell. I'll just fake it. ;)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESPAH 3/29/2008 6:32PM

    Thanks, sweetie! :)

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MUNTERMORMOR 3/29/2008 5:20PM

    Atta, Girl! When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I'm proud of you that you aren't letting this job situation get you down. A positive attitude shows in many ways. So keep being good to yourself.

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