Weighing in on the Cost

When I teach nutrition education in groups or one-on-one I often speak on "the cost." The cost isn't the monetary value of what we purchase, but rather the cost of our decision. When trying to lose weight whether it's for health or for performance we often cringe over the numbers on the scale.  There have been endless jokes over the years about divorcing your scale, hide it, get the numbers replaced with varied compliments, and the list goes on.  What do we use it for then? We use it for a statistical comparison of a height to weight ratio against a standard for risk of health, and to help calculate caloric requirements. A mouthful isn't it? The scale is a benchmark, and yes it's important, but it is relative. If you are 69 inches tall and weigh 180lbs technically your body mass index says you're overweight. This does not mean you're not healthy.  If you are overweight by the Body Mass Index, but your body fat percentage is within a healthy range then you probably have a lot more lean body mass for your height than the average healthy person of your height. Your level of fitness can help you stay healthy and lower your risk for health related conditions. Have your body fat percentage checked by a trained professional. The scale isn't the concern, it is a benchmark. The measuring tape and the calipers are the next evaluation marker that you can have done to check your health.

What then is the cost? The cost is associated with the decisions you make. If you know when you eat a certain food it will make you bloated and feeling heavy shortly after consuming it then the cost was how you feel. If you know eating this food is going to give you digestive issues at night or in the morning then that is the cost. If you know having a dessert each night of the week is going to slow your weight management goals then that too is the cost. If you have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, you live a sedentary lifestyle, and have a family that depends on you then whether you choose to change or not is the cost. The cost is not weighing in on the scale. It is the cost of what the food choices and lifestyle choices are going to have. A series of poor food and lifestyle choices are what can lead to obesity, health related disorders, and a shortened lifespan. 


Weighing in on the cost can mean making a decision towards investing in your health through a heart healthy diet, regular exercise, and positive lifestyle choices. The other cost does not yield an investment, only a debt. One that is eventually paid. GI Joe used to say, "knowing is half the battle." This is true, but taking action with the knowledge is what's important. When you know the cost, you must be willing to accept it or choose differently. It reminds me of something a dear friend said to one of my children as she dropped him off at school for us one day. She rolled down her window, and yelled out to him, "make good decisions!" When weighing in on the cost, know the cost, and make good decisions every day.