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The price of good health

I may not have cable, but I have Buddhist style dumpling bao.

This food is zen

(Or I had it before it entered the acidic wasteland known as my stomach.)

I have no idea what dumpling bao is or what makes this one Buddhist style. (There was no meat in it, so if it believes in reincarnation, I can’t be accused of cannibalism.) When they cut a carrot wedge into a star and placed it on top, they had me sold. And pay I did. I’ve kept a budget of my spending habits for over the past year. In 2007 I spent an average of $360 a month at the grocery store. For a single woman in the Midwest, that’s probably a high number. I don’t eat out much, so that represents the majority of my food bill for the year and averages to $11.80 a day. Somebody’s got to pay for a trucker to drive my plums in from Florida, because tropical fruits aren’t going to grow in an Indiana snow storm.

Eating well can be expensive. Last week I was too exhausted between my headache and work schedule to cook anything in the evenings. Instead, I drove to the whole foods store and bought whatever looked good, like sushi or wraps or dumpling bao. It wasn’t cheap, but I figure my health is worth it. I have to budget my life accordingly, so I cut out things that I don’t really need, like cable. And I’m waiting for my TV to completely break before I buy a new one, even if it turns itself back on three times after I turn it off. In return, I get to eat food that is stuffed with carrots, tofu, daikon, shitake mushroom, edamame, green onion, corn, long grain rice, red bell pepper, green cabbage, soy sauce and sesame oil.

I was watching PBS the other weekend (mostly because I have 10 channels to choose from and this one wasn’t playing sports), and I watched a seminar by Suze Orman. If you haven’t heard of her, Suze Orman is an author, TV show host, motivational speaker and kind of scary (but in a good way). She’s fierce. And she’s all about empowering women to learn about money, but in doing so she also empowers them to take control of their lives. As I was watching her seminar, it occurred to me that money, weight, and happiness all bleed together. If one of those things is severely out of whack in your life it can affect everything else. A lot of the techniques she talked about for becoming wealthier and managing your money were really just good tips for becoming happier and managing your life. Money means freedom. As Orman said, many women stay in bad relationships because they don’t have the money to support themselves outside of them. Similarly, it really helps to have money to get yourself out of an unhealthy lifestyle.

A pair of running shoes: $100. YMCA membership: $48 a month. Pilates DVD: $20. A healthy lifestyle? Pretty freakin’ expensive. (And, oh yeah, priceless, though I’ve got some receipts that say otherwise.) Weight loss and weight maintenance isn’t cheap. Sure, I could run outside instead of in a warm gym on a treadmill. And there are probably ways to slash my grocery bill and still keep calories down, but it’s easier to spend the money. I’m glad I have a middle-class income and I can afford to spend it on these things, just like I’m glad I have health insurance that will pay for doctor’s visits if I get sick.

So there you go. Weight-loss secret #1: Have a decent income. Or start a farm. The manual labor will meet your cardio and strength-training requirements for the week and you’ll have plenty of zucchini.

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39 Comments

Heather • March 10, 2008 at 8:09 am

My DH was appalled by the grocery store bill increase (he’d buy junk and cereal) when I originally moved in with him because I eat healthfully and am not going to deprive myself of tasty foods I want to save a few bucks… since that just leads to wanting to go out to eat or whatever and spending that money. I told him he could get over it because 1. my health is worth it and it will pay off when I’m not paying all the medical bills and prescriptions my family does to pay for their past unhealthy (if cheap) lifestyle. 2. I don’t go shoe shopping, I wear the same clothes until holes make them unwearable, I don’t throw parties, I sure don’t buy the $100-$500 bags his coworkers wives all seem to have, etc. etc– all in all, I’m still probably spending less than a lot of women. Just more in the food/exercise arena.

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Lesley • March 10, 2008 at 8:14 am

But what IS a “dumpling Bao”??? I hope it was good whatever it is and I applaud your priorities. I am trying to avoid supermarkets and buy local produce as far as poss and am really enjoying the uplift in quality but it aint cheap!

Lesley x

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Melsky • March 10, 2008 at 8:16 am

For me it’s a lot cheaper to be on a healthy eating plan because my husband and I end up eating out and drinking wine in restaurants (not even fancy restaurants!) That really gets out of control fast. But when I cook stuff that we eat at home we end up spending a lot less.

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Sarah • March 10, 2008 at 8:31 am

I watch the wise/scary Suze too in my cable free house!

I do agree that it CAN be expensive to eat healthy. But, I hate when I see people use the cost of food as a reason to not even try to eat healthier. Because I really, truly think that it is possible to have a better diet without breaking the bank. Beans, soup, potatoes, in-season produce are always cheap.

I needed this post though. Sometimes, I’m tempted to get that McDonald’s $1 double burger because I’m a cheapskate, instead of the $4 salad. I need to be reminded that I’m worth $3 extra dollars.

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fatbridesmaid • March 10, 2008 at 9:08 am

I love that Suze Orman seminar. The part that gets me is when she talks about how much money women waste renting apartments when they’re younger because they don’t want to buy a house until they’re married, even if it make financial sense to buy. She said something like, “No one is going to take care of you until you can take care of yourself” and even though it sounds stupid, it was a total lightbulb moment for me.

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Kaeti • March 10, 2008 at 9:10 am

I’m pretty sure that I was one of the phone operators on that Suze Orman PBS special. We got to meet her when she came in to tape the pledge breaks, and I agree on the crazy bit. Something about her eyes… Of course, her money/life tips are fantastic!

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G.G. • March 10, 2008 at 9:31 am

Really good post. I hate to say this, but I do think the having-enough-money thing is important when it comes to health (not a necessity, but a definite advantage). I’ve been more successful this time around because I now have enough discretionary income to buy better quality food like fresh salmon, sirloin and a variety of fresh vegetables. When you’re re-training your taste-buds, I think it helps to have food that’s primarily not coming out of a can or the freezer. I’m a single female, too; you’re spending about what I am a month.

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Becca • March 10, 2008 at 9:41 am

Lap Band Surgery – $15,300.00

Salmon fillets vs. mac & cheese – $20/week

Bicycle with big (real big) cushy seat – $489.99

Fitting into a size 18 shirt for the first time in 6 years – priceless

Thank you for a great reminder.

And I have to admit disappointment when I read the contents of dumpling bao. It looked enough like a fresh ball of mozerella to get me initially excited. I think the smidge of shredded purple cabbage underneath it should have been a clue to me of its abnormally healthy stuffing.

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Rah • March 10, 2008 at 9:58 am

My market sells little 12 oz. containers of what it calls “salad confetti.” Basically, it’s cut-up pieces of all the things you add to the bag of salad greens–carrot, radish, cabbage, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.–to make your salad more interesting. It costs $3.99 and I cringe every time I buy it, but then I remind myself that a trip through fast food would cost more. Things like that force you to put a value on your physical and mental health. Repeat after me: We are worth it.

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psychsarah • March 10, 2008 at 10:05 am

I loved this post. When we were going over finances, my husband was shocked at our grocery bill, but I said to him “Pay now, or pay later”, meaning pay now for healthy food (and gym memberships), or pay later for more medications, treatments, and other costs associated with being unhealthy (i.e., lost work time, paid help for things you could do yourself if you were healthy(like cleaning, shoveling snow, mowing the lawn), canes/wheelchairs, diabetic supplies etc.) I also pointed out that health is really all we’ve got, and if we don’t spend on it, really our quality of life will go down as well as the quantity. I am thankful daily that we have the income to support our healthy habits, and feel for those who really have to struggle to do the same.

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MizFit • March 10, 2008 at 10:45 am

it IS so freakin expensive huh.

I swear I get THISCLOSE to pushing my hubby to the edge with all the money and then Im just compelled :) to pull out the:

but sweetie think of all the money we will save on medical bills later.

works well.

unless the money Ive spent is on a new outfit.

:)

MizFit

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Melissa • March 10, 2008 at 11:07 am

You know, cable is totally over-rated. I would like to be able to touch my toes again someday without abdominal distress. Until that happens, I don’t care what it costs, the healthier choice will always ‘cost’ me less in the long run.

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MamaMaven • March 10, 2008 at 11:09 am

The dumpling bao look good, I had them for the first time when I went to my cousin’s wedding and his new wife is Vietnamese. Some of the ones we ate did have meat but others were lotus. Yum! I’ve never seen them in the store.

Your new lifestyle and the results are certainly priceless!

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Dinah Soar • March 10, 2008 at 11:51 am

Just in case you didn’t know…in 2009 all the TV broadcast signals will become digital…so if you buy a new TV, make sure it is compatible…there is a converter box available that will covert the signal and you can get a coupon from the gov’t to help offset the cost…at any rate, cable is highly overrated in my book too…lots of nothing on it for the most part…oh…your dumpling was possibly called Buddhist because it resembles the Buddha’s belly….ever read the weight loss blog “Lose the Buddha”?…the author has a big tummy she refers to as “the Buddha” because it, well, looks like a Buddha statue’s belly.

I agree with you—better to spend the money on good food and exercise…I don’t understand people who will spend a dollar on a soda and think nothing of it but cringe if they have to spend a dollar on a piece of fruit…go figure.

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spy • March 10, 2008 at 11:56 am

“it occurred to me that money, weight, and happiness all bleed together. If one of those things is severely out of whack in your life it can affect everything else.”

Great post and so true! When I’m eating right, I feel in control of my life, and I’m generally happy, content, and satisfied. When I’m not, I tend to buy things I don’t need, chew my cuticles (ouch), basically feel out of control. But why is it so hard to remember that when the backslide starts? So far, I’ve lost 20 pounds, have about 45 to go.

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Danielle • March 10, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Tell me about it.

We are a family of 6, and for the first time, I kept track of what I spent on groceries (incuding food, paper products, personal hygiene items), and last week it was $330.

Gulp.

But when I considered that we didn’t eat out once last week, and we ate mostly healthy foods, I found some comfort.

And you’re right: all the rewards that come from eating a healthy diet are priceless!

And as soon as I can get that stubborn 3 yr old of mine out of pull-ups, I can spend that extra $15/week on more yummy goodness!

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radiosilents • March 10, 2008 at 1:09 pm

*nodding in agreement*

Yes! Since I am also watching my spending, I generally try to not buy unnecessary items at the store like I used to, though. It is true that especially now, buying fresh fruits and veggies is really expensive, which really sucks. And there’s no really buying local in the winter when you live in the snow belt.

But, one advantage to the latter is snow shoveling, about which I discovered its magical weight loss powers in the past few days. I almost want to go around the whole neighborhood shoveling for free, it’s such good exercise. ;)

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Red • March 10, 2008 at 1:20 pm

I read both fitness and personal finance (pf) blogs, and it’s interesting how both seem to take on the other from their unique perspective.

For example, a lot of pf blogs will refuse to get expensive gym memberships, even though nothing else seems to work for them and there’s a gym a few feet away. I certainly understand where they’re coming from (I bike 10 miles to and from work instead), but fitness is at least as important as finance!

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Robyn • March 10, 2008 at 1:28 pm

I haven’t really figured it up yet, but I feel like since we’ve begun eating more healthy stuff, we are spending less. Gone are the days of going out to eat every other night, and ordering pizza twice a week. Now, we not only spend less because we don’t eat out as much, we spend less because we eat less. I guess one thing that is costing us more money is that we now feel like getting up and going somewhere more often, rather than just sitting around the house all day. That ends up costing money, because entertainment is rarely free.

I liked your post! I like all of your posts, actually! I’m glad to hear that your headaches have backed off a bit.

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Red • March 10, 2008 at 1:56 pm

Yeah, it’s pretty rough trying to eat healthy and lose weight when you barely make $20,000 a year. But this is where determination can be the mother of creativity. ;-D

Instead of paying out the ass for a gym membership (which would come in handy living in a climate like here in Cleveland, Ohio) or an outrageously-priced treadmill, I decided to find a free way of working out indoors. Using the burned tracks on my XBox, the internet’s vast supply of free music (YouTube, playlist.com, MySpace, yadda-yadda), and my knowledge of clubby dancing, aerobics, and what tiny bit I know of kickboxing, I put together my own bi-weekly, 100 minute cardio routine. For added exercise, I bought a used DDR dancepad for my XBox, a used copy of the game, and put it on beginner-level “Workout Mode” 3 times a week. It’s cool, because the “workout mode” has a calorie counter at the bottom based on your weight and movement on the dancepad. Plus it’s a hell of alot of fun ;-)

For my diet, my good friend photocopied a WW calculator for me as well as all the basic information, so that way I don’t have to pay a gagillion dollars to be weighed in by strangers. Before I finally had the money for a scale, I used my measuring tape instead.

Food costs a little bit more, but since I’m eating less of it I get to stretch the grocery bill a bit as well, so that works out.

Wow, this is sure a long rambling, but that’s what happens when I start talking about my diet stuff :-)

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Elise • March 10, 2008 at 3:23 pm

My husband and I are on a limited budget (both grad students); we spend $250 on food for the both of us, and I wanted to share a few tips on keeping produce costs low.

1. Shop seasonally…it’s not hard to figure out what is in season because it is usually cheap as hell because there are so much of it. Citrus is good around Christmas, Berries in the spring, tomatoes in summer, apples in fall, etc.

2. Shop sales… at our local supermarket, we’ve discovered that there will be a bag/box of lettuce reduced to half off because it is near its sale by date. We buy this (saving $2-4), and use it that night or the next day.

3. Shop ethnic… without doubt, food is always cheaper if you can visit an Asian/Hispanic market. Even just going down the International isle at your supermarket you’ll notice a difference. I needed sesame seeds for a stirfry, on the spice isle a bottle was $8, with the Asian food it was $1.50.

4. Shop local… I have found farmer’s markets and other co-ops much cheaper because they don’t have to ship it very far.

5. Shop cans and frozen sections… A whole pineapple right now is $7.99, a 20 oz can of name brand pineapple is .99-1.24 (depending on sale). At CostCo, if you buy in bulk, the can is only .75 a can. I’m not saying that frozen broc will always been cheaper than fresh, but it is worth it to keep an eye out for sales in the frozen/can section and stock up.

6. Shop at home… grow *expensive* things yourself. Unless you are really into gardening and have the resources, it isn’t worth it grow your own jalepenos, but it is worth it to grow cherry tomatoes and herbs. You don’t need a lot of space (we grow ours on our balcony, we have a small apartment), and you don’t have to give them a lot of babying. We also have exchange nights with our friends who have the space to grow cucumbers, zucchini, and squash.

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anonymous boxer • March 10, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Amen – it’s no secret why this country is bloated with weight and debt… I see them as the same thing. But I hadn’t seen financial strength and health strength as “one”, so that’s cool.

It’s actually really awful that in this country it’s cheaper to eat crappy junk food then healthy food.

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kappy • March 10, 2008 at 3:33 pm

I think for some people it can be more expensive to select healthier choices at the grocery store, especially if one is learning about fresh and less-processed food; but I think I’m actually spending less these days. I’ve always had a pretty good diet with a variety of foods including lots of fresh fruits and veggies…I just had a bad diet on TOP of all that.

Now with better portion control at home (my husband and I will split a steak instead of buying two), limiting some foods (less wine and alcohol, less bread and sweets), and virtually eliminating others (2 pints of $4 ice cream a week, no chips or soda, we seldom eat dessert, and I’m not picking up a candy bar at check-out every freakin’ day) – I’ll venture a guess that I’m spending less.

I make soup on the weekends and take soup or salad to work 4 days a week; so the cost of those items replaces the $6-7 dollars it costs to eat lunch in this neighborhood. In addition, I’m not paying for the non-planned “eat because it’s available” things such as buying a burger and fries just because it’s next to the bank or wherever I’m running errands and it smells so good. I buy a loaf of bread at the bakery, not a loaf of bread + pastry for later + a cookie to eat in the car. Bad food choices really add up. (And I hesitate to use the word “bad” to describe food as any food choice is considered in relation to the whole. I, like you, think you can eat anything in moderation and any single food shouldn’t be demonized.)

As an aside…I did a quick calculation of what it costs 2 of us to eat lunch out per year. Calculating an average of $6 per 5 days a week for 50 weeks = $3000! For 3K I can take the time to make soup on Sundays.

I feel rich!

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AndrewE • March 10, 2008 at 3:44 pm

I honestly believe it is worth spending the extra money on the healthy lifestyle. If you are going to eat healthy you might as well eat well! :)

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AG • March 10, 2008 at 5:16 pm

I love this post. I spend $60 a month on a gym membership and some of my friends think that’s crazy. But it’s only $20 more than they spend. When I watch them eating at expensive restaurants or buying a few bottles of wine a week, I think “It’s all about what you value.” To me, it’s worth it to work out somewhere a little bit nicer so I feel like I’m pampering myself.

AG

http://www.100daysinbed.blogspot.com

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Merrem • March 10, 2008 at 6:10 pm

I hear you on this one. My grocery bill is insane and when the farmers’ market is open, my kitchen sink looks like a compost heap. Good health is expensive, even worse if you have allergies, I think. I have a friend with a *ton* of allergies and a big family and they are not well off. Sometimes she suffers because whole foods without preservatives, etc. are not always affordable for them.

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K • March 10, 2008 at 6:10 pm

I’m not at all a crusading vegetarian, but I will say, one of the benefits is a lower food-shopping bill. Meat is SO expensive, especially if you care about the animals’ welfare…

(The dumpling bao sounds delicious, though I’ve never heard of it.)

I have found that spending money on gym membership (etc) is a positive encouragement to use it, since every day you don’t go is a waste of money. Making a one-off payment for home exercise equipment just doesn’t work the same way for me, sadly.

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Brenda • March 10, 2008 at 8:39 pm

Just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. You crack me up…it’s a good thing…priceless!

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Cindy • March 10, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Hi PQ,

As others have suggested, eating healthy costs more, but is counteracted by eating out less. I spend more at the grocery store than I would ever have imagined. I started off shopping healthier in my regular grocery store…then, when I started getting “uber-healthy,” it got outrageous. That’s when I discovered Whole Foods. That has actually helped my food bill, believe it or not. They can be quite reasonable, for organics, etc… as long as I don’t got for the bizarre specialty foods (then they are ridiculous!). Also, I make soup each week, as another poster mentioned. That way, I eat a very healthy lunch every day at a minimal cost. Living in New England, it is nice to have something warm each day, too. Eating several vegetarian meals each week cuts down on the food bill and adds more fiber to my diet (beans are usually involved!). Irish steel cut oatmeal is delicious, nutritious and relatively cheap, per serving, even when I buy the really good stuff.

Eggs are another good source of inexpensive protein (even when I buy the organic, free-range eggs—just don’t look at the price of the cheaper eggs, so it won’t bother you!).

This past summer, I grew many tomatoes, zucchini, and butternut squashes, as my first garden experiment. I also went to the farmer’s market often and bought fresh food in bulk when I had time to “put it up.” This winter, i have enjoyed the fruits of that labor, having fresh tasting home grown spaghetti sauce, fresh/frozen peaches (and there is nothing like fresh peaches in December!), and butternut squash soup by the gallon (and if you add red lentils, you get the added protein!). This spring, I am considering raising chickens…I am not sure I’ll save money, but I’ll know where my eggs came from!

I’ve come a long way from practically living at the McDonald’s drive-thru, and yes, I my just be going over the deep-end a little bit, but once you start down this healthy eating path, it is hard to stop. Of course, I have my moments and I still enjoy eating out far too much, but the difference is that now all my meals in between those forays are far healthier, making those cheats manageable.

I am afraid to figure out how much I spend each month ~ maybe that will be my next goal: Start a budget. Scarey…

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Professor Zero • March 11, 2008 at 1:19 am

I spend at least $400 every month at the grocery store, although that does include non food items bought there. I’m not extravagant – I eat decently – and I have a decent appetite, but I do not overeat.

It just costs that much nowadays. You can get it down with real effort but I do not want to do what my frugal neighbor does – live on 49 cent chicken pot pies just so as to have more savings.

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Dana • March 11, 2008 at 2:21 am

@Red: It’s kinda sad to see PF bloggers being so penny-pinchy that they won’t use a gym even though it works best for them. Amy Dacynzyn (sp?) of Tightwad Gazette fame said once that the whole point of tightwaddery is to get the most from your money, and you aren’t gonna get there by being a miser. (I’m paraphrasing.) Spending the least amount of money is not the only way to be frugal.

@Elise: It is amazingly easy to grow peppers. I had some in pots on my front patio when I was married and they needed almost zero attention. Jalapeno plants don’t get more than about a foot tall, and if they have the least amount of stress they start producing like gangbusters. (Plants tend to have babies if they think they’re gonna die soon.) So it’s not any less worth it to grow peppers than it is to grow cherry tomatoes, at least not in my experience. God, now I wish I had a porch again. I hate apartment buildings.

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Red • March 11, 2008 at 8:37 am

@Dana: My way has actually worked out BETTER for me than a gym, so I’m sure glad I didn’t shell out the money for one in the first place. You may have the cash to throw around, but some of us have rent to pay.

Besides, I’ve lost 68lbs since the end of October using my method. I’d say my “penny-pinching” has been “getting me there” quite well. :-D

It’s just a matter of sensibility.

PQ – Red, I’m sure most of us have rent to pay. Please knock off the patronizing tone.

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Mindy • March 11, 2008 at 9:15 am

You bring up good points. A friend of mine runs a food pantry here in the community and has a hard time struggling with providing a lot of food with little money. She shares building space with a free clinic and the nurse there chides her for not buying enough healthy food to give away. But she can buy so much more unhealthy food with the little funds that she has. Hungry verus healthy is a losing competition.

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Red • March 11, 2008 at 10:43 am

PQ: I was not really being patronizing (and definitely not toward you), I felt that it was just a little crappy of Dana to remark how “sad” it was that I don’t pay for a gym instead of doing what I do. This is somehow implying that being creative = being a cheapskate. I don’t consider what I do “penny-pinching” at all, I consider it doing What Works For ME.

And yes, I am aware that everybody here most likely has rent/mortgage to pay, and I was in no way implying that they don’t.

PQ – Okay, I’ve figured out the problem. Too different people left comments using the screen name “Red.” Dana’s comment was directed at the other Red’s comment, 2 comments above the 2nd Red’s comment (you). If you read that, you’ll see she actually wasn’t talking to you, she was referring to the people the 1st Red mentioned in his comment, specifically personal finance bloggers who don’t buy gym memberships even though nothing else works for them.

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Sarah • March 11, 2008 at 1:13 pm

PQ,

I have to say that you have touched on one of my favorite topics/issues. I have often wondered how I didn’t gain incredible amounts of weight during grad school as I was on a tight budget. I recall eating a ton of bad carbs, which got me into trouble later in life. In retrospect I often realize that while I was eating a lot of carbs, they were combined with lots of yummy fresh veggies (an advantage of living in TX at the time) and not too much more, just an occaisional boneless skinless chicken breast. By spending the money on the right foods i may have been spending more, but i was eating the right foods, and far less than when i go on a junk food diet and eat chips and cookies out the wazoo.

Likewise, i’ve had many conversations with some other health (read weight) concious friends regarding these same issues. I know that my paretns were on a tight budget when we were little, and i think of all of the bad, cheap foods we ate. It is even worse today. For $3 you can get a weeks worth of ramen noodles or $7 gets you mac and cheese and milk for the week. It is easy and it is cheap – and no wonder america’s future is becomming more overweight and more likely to sit on the couch.

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Red (Laura) • March 11, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Hahaha! Here I was all “Don’t you call me a cheapskate!”. I think the other reason for the confusion was Dana’s comment seemed to also fit the content of my original comment, so I saw it and thought it was for me. I do deeply apologize for the confusion.

PQ – Yeah, I was confused too. I read your response and was like, “Why is she so mad? No one was even talking about her.”

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victoria • March 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm

I have a sort of general comment about what it’s like to read this site. I feel that I’ve had a chance to to know the way you think. You strike me as a very rational person who likes to analyze and quantify things, to break them down into their separate parts, figure out how the parts go together, and develop a more efficient combination for the system as a whole. If I didn’t know you worked with computers I would think you were an engineer or economist.

Part of me suspects that the way you think has a lot to do with why you’ve been so successful at it. This detached, rational, scientific mentality really does work better in the long run than the way most women (including me) approach weight loss.

Most of us, I think, lose weight out of narcissism. We think, “I need to fit into that dress by May 20 for that big trip.” ” I will like myself better when I’m at my goal weight.” “Men/a particular man will like me better at my goal weight.”

The reason our narcissism doesn’t serve us very well in the long run, I think, is that narcissism flips into self-loathing almost instantaneously. “I can’t fit into that dress and so I don’t deserve to go on that trip.” “I hate myself because I’m too heavy.” “I am unloveable at this weight.”

No one can accomplish anything when they’re busy hating themselves. The narcissism that fueled our weight loss efforts quickly sabotages them.

By contrast, in your blog, self-loathing, moral disapproval, judgment, “being good” or “being bad” simply don’t enter into the equation. You don’t punish yourself for deviations from your SBD/exercise plan. You simply analyse what works and what doesn’t and factor that information into your program.

I really respect your approach and I wish I could adopt it as my own. I also have some (very prying, overly intrusive, invasive) questions (that you should feel COMPLETELY free to ignore if you like.

Is there really *no* narcissism in your program? I haven’t read your whole blog, but in what I have read, there appear to be no moments during which you stand in front of 3-way mirrors saying, “Damn, I’m hot!” You’ve talked about your budget, but as far as I can tell, your new body hasn’t sent you on any budget-busting shopping sprees. You don’t write about what it feels like to attract positive attention as an attractive woman, or what it feels like to wear a strappy sundress on a warm day. (I keep stepping over the boundaries of politeness, and I guess I’m stepping over another one when I say that your pictures are all very attractive, and you would certainly be ENTITLED to some considerable personal vanity, I think.)

I hope that paragraph wasn’t offensive. I once lost a considerable amount of weight, and I had one particular friend who kept insisting on praising me in public for my weight loss. This made me uncomfortable. Her saying “Victoria has lost SO much weight!” sounded like “Victoria was SO fat!” She also made me feel as though my body was public property: as though my losing weight entitled her to invade my privacy and publicly comment on my body. I HATED this. I repeatedly asked her to stop. She repeatedly ignored me. So I ended by just terminating the friendship because I couldn’t stand to be around her any more. I don’t need people in my life who ignore my feelings.

So, I apologize in advance if my comments are rude, or make you feel objectified or exposed. I am sorry if I did to you what my friend used to do to me. Please feel free to ignore or reprimand me and I will accept that response.

-V.

PQ – You were scaring me there for a minute, victoria, because it sounded like you were about to psycho-analyze me or tell me what my problems were. I was relieved when you just wanted to know if I was vain, and yeah, I have my moments of vanity. I wrote about posing in front of the dressing room mirror last month. And there was one time a guy at the library called me a “pretty lass” and I totally dug it. I do tend to be more rational and analytical, but I’m human and have my emotional moments too.

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Mrs. Duffy • March 11, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Hey, what’s up with Indiana Whole Foods having dumpling bao when New York Whole Foods doesn’t? I’m jealous. I want dumpling bao too (whatever it is!).

Re: the last post, I’m NOT so jealous about the nasty icy snow [that should be gone now, it's spring, thanks mother nature!]. 12:13 ain’t too shabby under those conditions, considering.

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JEMi @ MyFavoriteDietBlog • March 12, 2008 at 10:39 am

I felt like I spent my life savings buying food. It isn’t cheap at all and it doesn’t help that I have to will myself to cook. Single woman living in NY – instant gratification (read- frozen tv dinners) is where its at. You know. Lean Cuisine

…yeah I can do better than that

and I have. But still – yeesh

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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