Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The High Cost of Being Fat

They say the diet business is a gajilllion dollar industry, but they never mention that the eating industry probably makes a lot more money.

I don't know how much I spend on food a week, but come next Monday, (everything I start has to start on Monday), I will be recording how much I spend on food down to the $1.50 I spend on diet coke from a random vending machine. I've always known I spend more than the average bear on food. I don't really cook and everything I buy is take-out. Thus, the only house I will ever be able to afford is one made of gingerbread...and then I'll eat it.

My work environment doesn't help my situation. We order in lunch every single day. And, when you work for men who make hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, it's literally hard keeping up with the Jones', especially with the choices of restaurants that deliver to our office suite. Our choices include, but are not limited to: Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang's, Sisely, El Torito, Macaroni Grill and so on. Thus, each meal averages to be around 10 dollars plus tax and tip, which is basically $13-15 a meal. Not a lot to people who can afford it, but a mass amount to a struggling student like me. Let's do the math:

$13 x 5 = $65 for the week, excluding dinner.

Geez, that's a whole lot of money. That's basically $260 a month. I don't pay that much for my car. AND I'M NOT INCLUDING DINNER!

Yesterday, I went on a little something therapists and fat people like to call, a binge. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't right, but it sure tasted good. It basically came down to the fact that I was preparing myself for a diet and when I do so, I order basically what could be considered, The Last Supper. But, yesterday, I couldn't make a decision, so, I ordered both things, from two different restaurants...not one of my proudest moments. And, my dinner came to be almost a total of $40. FOR ONE MEAL. Well, two meals, but crammed into one.

Easily assumed, I think I spend around $150 dollars a week on food. That's basically a quarter of what I make a week. NOT COOL.

This doesn't even include the caloric intake I expose myself to because my meals are not made at home and therefore, cannot be counted. I've gone online and investigated some nutritional facts from several websites, but most don't offer them, (Yes Cheesecake, I'm talking about you).

Basically, I'm spending mass amounts of money and consuming mass amounts of calories eating out. There's an obvious solution to this problem, buy food at the market, prepare it myself and take lunch to work. But, let's be honest here, I'm not the type of person to do that...that would take a "life-style change" and, I'm just not ready for something like that.

So, I'm figuring, maybe I need to be shocked into saving money. I could see what I'm missing out on by being such a fat ass. In the time I could have consumed 50 meals, which doesn't take me that long, I could have afforded to lose some weight and buy myself this Gucci purse I've had my eye on.

Now, that's some motivation.

52 comments:

GoBetty said...

OMG tell me more about the work, and the ordering out for lunch (FROM CHEESECAKE FACTORY) every single day. That is whack girl. I just ate an apple and a Bowel Buddy. Life is not fair. Nor tasty at the mo!

Sam said...

I don't think I could stop the ordering of the food either. With those choices? NO WAY! I'm eager to find out how much you'd save though...I can't imagine how much I spend...hundreds!

Marly said...

Every time I start a new diet, about every 6 hours, I have to either buy new food or take a shower to finalize it and I have no idea why.

Anonymous said...

The money! Oh, the money spent on crappy food!! It's easy enough to ignore the amount, and pretend it's just a dollar here or there, but when you pay attention, it's really awful. How I know.

Anita
anitachange.chowslurp.com

Anonymous said...

What about eating half your ordered meal at lunchtime and bringing a few things to have around if you're still hungry (apples, yogurt, popcorn, cereal). Then you'd have the other half for dinner, along with something easy like a bagged salad. If you had a work friend to do share with - even better. You could swap your halves, get a little variety, and save the takeout expense at least at dinnertime.

Anonymous said...

I never thought I would be one of those "cook for myself" type people either. But when I moved out I realized it's actually not that hard. I cook maybe one or twice a week, eat leftovers a lot (I cook for about 4 people and I'm only 1), and suppliment with sandwiches, salads, soup, and 100 calorie packs (perfect portions without thinking!)

VI said...

In my home, the grocery bill for two people per week is 45.00

You should consider cooking... it's UBER cheaper!

S. Lynne Fremont said...

My grocery bill is pretty high because I decided that I would always always keep fresh fruits and veggies around. Which means I throw away a lot of fruits and veggies.

Seriously though, I hear you. My office has a nice cafeteria where one can get a decent lunch for around $5 and breakfast for around $4 if one gets the large coffee (which I always do). Add to that any incidental snacks = $50/week. I spend another $50-$100 on groceries and eating out for dinner (cos you know, on Mondays they have 1/2 price martinis at the local watering hole). So I guess what I am saying is that $150/week on food per person isnt totally outrageous especially if one is a single person with expensive tastes. I mean, I dont cook much and I often have cheese and crackers for dinner but it is good cheese on expensive fancy crackers.

Of course, if you really want to eat on the cheap, there have been times (even recently) when I have gotten through a whole week on $30.
That involved a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches though and bagged lunches and cooked at home dinners of pasta.

Peppa said...

You admit that many of those at work earn a whole lot of money. On the other hand, you're a struggling student. Girl, you did the math yourself... It is OK to admit that you can't afford to eat like that all the time. Home made pasta with olive oil and tomato sauce will smell just as good as that take-in stuff when it's lunch time and it will probably taste better than the stuff you normally order. Besides, it's a fact that most popular restaurants use transfats - stuff that is dangerously unhealthy.

One of the posters suggested that you take snacks to work. Yogurt smoothies, mini-applies, almonds, these are all great snacks. If you absolutely don't want to cook, you can find plenty of healthy pre-packaged meals at Whole Foods markets.

The Fat Girl said...

I find eating out at restaurants where I can get good, high-quality, healthful food much more expensive than eating non-nutritive trash. I do cook, but I crave organic fruits and vegetables, all pretty and colorful and gleaming on the shelves of Whole Foods and costing double what limper versions do at Safeway. A fancy sandwich with preservative-free roast turkey and fresh vegetables costs way more than a Subway concoction.

What I'm saying is: I spend a lot of money on food, too. But I don't think it's just fat people who do that. In fact, I think it's often quite the opposite—healthful food is expensive.

duenneschen said...

I'd have to agree with fat girl...going to a good grocery store instead of your safeway or farmer jack is just more expensive...

We have these "fruit/veggie" stores here that sell good produce super cheap...granted its one of those places where yuo have to buy in bulk or forego onion because they don't have nice looking ones but those times are rare..

Then for me, I scour the sale pages and when something is one sale I stock up on it. Also, I try off brand stuff....if I think it's comparable to the brand name stuff, why not?

divaboots said...

I looked at the calorie counts from P.F. Chang's once and nearly threw up. How can lettuce wraps have so many frigging calories??? Their big selling point is lettuce, fergodsake!

Anonymous said...

the fat girl - why would you have to go to a special grocery store to buy healthy food? Last time I checked, Albertsons sells chicken, wheat bread, heck, even lettuce and organic bananas. It doesn't have to be extra special fancy healthy food in order to be healthy food...

Yikes, I spend $150 a week on groceries for my whole family - and there are five of us, and two of us are, um, not skinny. Ya gotta stop eating out, that's all.

neca said...

There are some places now that will pre-package food for you. I'm not talking Jenny Craig or even "diet" food, but caterers that allow you to select from a menu. Then they prepare, package, and deliver the food - all you've got to do is heat it up. Besides being a bit cheaper, you would also know the nutritional content. Something like that might help you get a handle on what you are spending.

Anyway, your post seemed like you were casting about for ideas, which is why I offered one!

Chelle said...

I kept a take out log for a from mid-Feb to mid-March. I only logged the takeout, the pizza deliveries, vending machine and food cart trips. I was astounded by just how much I spent on junk food. I was averaging about $85 a week on junk. Not including the actual grocery shopping.

Do it. It's an eye-opener. Even if you cut the takeout by 1/3 or 1/2, you'll be much better off. Sometimes it's difficult to be motivated by the intangible health benefits, so focus on the money saved. Less takeout = more fun fund$.

Dolley said...

$150 is a quarter of what you make a week as a struggling student??

You would cry if I told you what I make after more than 20 years of plugging away earnestly at my pink-collar job. Don't be a legal secretary; you'd be better off dead.

And I work at a large firm in a large city, not Ed's Law & Gas in small town in the midwest.

Anonymous said...

I preach this all the time to my friends and co-workers who whine about not having money.

TAKE YOUR LUNCH (and snacks) TO WORK EVERY DAY. You will not believe what you will save.

I don't like to cook, nor do I have time most of the time but you can bring salads, soups, even wraps.. I don't care if you spend $1 a day on lunch, it's more than buying your own food and bringing it.

I watch them all parade out at lunch time and they see me eating my balony sandwich...

I treat myself once a week to a dinner out.

I have my own home, a car that's paid for early and tomorrow I'm going to a huge jewelry show to buy myself something sparkly to wear... without charging it.

emily pound said...

The Last Supper! I love it! :-) I know what you're talking about ... I spend a hell of a lot of money I can't afford on junk food too. And way more than I need to on take-out, just because I'm too lazy to cook. Maybe you could save your take-out for work and cook at home? Compromise? It would save you cash and be a lot healthier.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding like a complete snot ("off topic," natch!), don´t you mean "consuming massive amounts of calories" and "spending massive amounts of money"? (Rather than "mass...," I mean).

PS - Good luck on your new binge 'n' scrimp period of self punishment... err, I mean diet... :-)

Anonymous said...

To dolley, the legal secretary:

Women get paid less than men, even for the same jobs. It´s not fair and we need to change that. I propose a Union of Women, whereby us girls can band together and use our collective bargaining power with our (mostly) male bosses and husbands and boyfriends and fathers and priests and... so on.

Anonymous said...

I hate that people are suggesting what she should do. She obviously stated she knows that if she bought her own food she'd save money. Why people solicit advice when it's not asked for baffles me.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous, above:

To solicit means to ask for. You meant to say "Why people offer advice..."

M said...

Three words of advice: George Foreman Grill.

Quick and easy (easy in terms of cleanup, it's only one cooking surface) and you can make either healthy or healthier everything on it!

Ona Diet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ona Diet said...

Hi. Sorry about the delted comment.

Too funny, I have to start everything new on a Monday too. Ahh the way we trick our mind. Hate the Last Supper, gained like 20lbs just having one of those every night until I finally got more determined to stick to the stupid diet!

I had that problem, eating out too much and spending too mch money. I am doing Jenny Craig now. Sure it's processed food, but once you reach halfway to the goal weight you want to be, they wean you off their foods and on foods you prepare yourself and/or buy from elsewhere. Plus they have this great eating out guide that hascalorie count for any restaurant you can think of. Good plan. Just a thought!

baffled? said...

Anonymous said...

"I hate that people are suggesting what she should do. She obviously stated she knows that if she bought her own food she'd save money. Why people solicit advice when it's not asked for baffles me. 11:13 AM "

You "hate" it? wow, pretty strong emotions. I think people are "suggesting" out of concern or/and encouragement. It is also silly of you to state: 'suggesting what she should do' this is quite contradictory. The people here are not telling her what she should do, they are merely offering her some very helpful advise/suggestions. Get it? Also, these girls have a comments section on their blog, with no rules applied. You sound like an easily irritable person, I SUGGEST that you take a chill pill.

Anonymous said...

To solicit advice MEANS to ask for. I suggest you learn English.

Anonymous said...

Oops, someone beat me to it!

Anonymous said...

Quitting the takeout cold turkey would be hard, but I bet you could wean yourself down. How about taking a lunch one day a week and stashing the ten bucks you saved. Then at the end of the month, you've got $40 to spend on something that would last longer then the 40 minutes it would've taken to eat those 4 lunches.

Anonymous said...

Brown bag it.

Dolley said...

To Anonymous, the unionizer:

I really appreciate the support, and the sentiments behind it. My despair, however, is that after nearly 30 years in the field, 25 of them as a (very good) legal secretary, I'm not making much more than the "struggling student" who is also female. My issue is that despite the years it took to acquire in-demand skills and knowledge, my salary is not much more than what a lot of students expect to make upon graduation.

Midknyt said...

I understand your pain. I have an hour hole in between two classes, and I meet my friends at the union...which has a Woodstock's (pizza), Carl's Jr., and Panda Express right there. Staring at me. I cave in a lot, which is really unhealthy for me, and I completely can't afford it - my struggling student wages are about $600 a MONTH.

It's hard to not eat the takeout, or in my case the Carl's Jr., when everyone else around you is. You're just going to feel deprived. And I don't know about you, but when I am ordered food from a resturant, I don't want to order healthy food - if I'm spending the extra money on something, I want it to be on something I couldn't or wouldn't make at home, not a salad.

I'd say the best suggestion I've seen so far is the splitting lunch in half and taking it home for dinner. There is also this place called Dream Dinners (www.dreamdinners.com) where you go in for two hours and make a months worth of food - they have everything set up, the food, the measuring spoons, everything, and you just make the stuff, take it home and put it in your freezer, and then cook it. It's more expensive than cooking for yourself, but it's still cheaper than getting takeout.

Good luck, either way. If you find the magical solution, let the rest of us know.

Anonymous said...

I solved this problem by hooking up with an F#ck-Buddy who I see at lunch time. By the time "lunch time" is over, I have found that I am not that interested in eating.

T. Comfyshoes said...

Hey, I just wanted to weigh in (lol) that keeping track of the money sounds like a good plan.

I actually went from a size 22 to a 16 last summer by doing exactly what you're thinking of - stopping eating out so much - plus exercising. I used the money I saved to buy a new wardrobe for my new body.

Then working out and backing lunches got to be too much effort and now I've gained it all back.

Keep on rocking y'all and I hope you have better luck than me!

saucyintellectualtart said...

"It's hard to not eat the takeout"

You mean, it's hard NOT TO EAT"

don't split your infinitives

justsaying said...

Fatty Mcgee if you are *really* serious about losing weight, you will need to stop with ordering in every day for lunch. Even if you save half of it for home, you're still going to eat half of that unhealthy food the next day or even the same day. Life is not high school. One shouldn't cave in to peer pressure, much less when it involves bad and expensive food! If you're serious about losing weight and saving money on lunch, you'll need to brown bag. And you'll start thinking of take-out food as many of us do, something that we do once in a while, not something that we do every day.

Joan said...

What about Nutri system or some other place then sends you prepared foods ready to eat? It costs about $10 a day but that is the whole day. Sounds like you would save money AND lose weight. That is what is called win/win.

kat said...

I work in a downtown office that houses about 1000 people and 90% of them eat lunch out EVERY single day. Sometimes you can't help but follow along, which is what I was doing for a while. it got so expensive - I guess if you're going to eat any meal out, lunch would be the best one because you can usually find healthy options that aren't TOO expensive (compared to dinner). But it does add up.

Since I stopped eating lunch at restaurants during the week I've saved so much money. I cook on Sundays and Wednesdays and make enough food to last me for the whole week (lunch and dinners). I'm also vegan (don't know if you are, but I strolled over here via a vegan blog). I'd say I spend about $30-40 per week on groceries, and maybe $20 more on eating out with friends on a weeknight. So in total, no more than $60 per week. :)

Regina said...

(saucyintellectualtart - avoiding the split infinitive is an archaic syntax rule modelled on Latin, which used to be considered the perfect language. Who cares? But if you are a linguistic purist, you're doing a great job.)

Anonymous said...

ahhhh.... my two favourite topics... food and money! :)

our household 'rule' is that we don't cut corners at the grocery store. we still look for bargains and stock up but if one of us wants it and it's not on sale, we'll still buy it. the compromises are that a)we don't eat out more than once a month, and, b)we don't buy more than one junk food item per week.

do we save money? probably. we're spending $500/month for two adults and one 9 year old. it works out to just under $6 per person per day. i can live with that.

i've gotten so used to cooking meals ahead of time, i make it a bit of a sunday night ritual. hangin' in the kitchen with a decent bottle of wine and some good music.

good luck with your 'project'!

Miss Michele said...

IMHO, this post was not a request for tips and tricks...Jeezus people, let the blogger blog and stop with the advice. Do what you need to do girl, and keep on...loving your site.

Anonymous said...

"Thus, the only house I will ever be able to afford is one made of gingerbread...and then I'll eat it."
Genius!

Anonymous said...

"IMHO, this post was not a request for tips and tricks...Jeezus people, let the blogger blog and stop with the advice."

Why don't *you* stop telling other people what they are allowed to comment?

A few reasons just off the top of my head:

(1) Freedom of speech.

(2) This blog at times sounds like a cry for help.

(3) The authors of the blog can let people know if they want less web traffic, fewer comments, fewer readers, less potential advertising revenue, etc.

Wendy said...

WOW, I am stunned! I used to spend $8 or so for lunch most days with friends, sometimes a lot more, but I got real tired of that, thought $40-plus/week just for lunches was TOO MUCH. And I'm fully employed, as a licensed professional, with all student loans paid off! now I often bring leftovers, but when I get my meals out, I often get them at cheaper locations. I don't even buy sodas out of the machine, I bring a six-pack to work regularly, to save $0.75/bottle. sounds like we are on opposite ends of the spectrum here!

Anonymous said...

Anon @1:55pm

A cry for help? You sound like a judgemental ass.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Anon @1:55pm

A cry for help? You sound like a judgemental ass.


Anon was not being judgmental, she/he was just being an observant individual. Yes, fatties do dispair.. GASP! Stop being so damn defensive and sensitive!!

Bron said...

"...everything I buy is take-out..."

Maybe if you ate more vegetables, salad, & fruit, & didn't buy any take-out, you could possibly become slimmer?

I've read of people who became slimmer just because they stopped drinking softdrink (soda, pop, whatever you call it)!

Did you know that it is recommended that we eat at least five servings of different vegetables & two or three servings of fruit, every day?!

You could try just having the ordered in lunch on Fridays, to celebrate & reward your hard work all week.

Casey said...

I hate that you all treat her like she's a fucking idiot! You'll all make great over protective mothers! Leave her alone! She's not retarded.

Anonymous said...

This is Anon at 1:55. I didn't resort to name-calling. I just made some logical points.

Anonymous said...

Start taking your lunch with you to work and buy water.

Teri said...

I, too, am a fatty who hates to cook. Since I’m single and don’t plan on having children, I figured the money spent on take-out was money well spent, until the one place that delivers the good pasta primavera started fucking up orders and being pissy about it (I ordered 2 entrées, they delivered one but charged my card for both and kept insisting they had delivered both. It took 20 minutes of my being on hold and getting yelled at by the owner the he was BUSY before they discovered the second entrée hadn’t even been made). I resolved never to order from them, but my cravings for alfredo sauce run deep. Enter Cooks.com. They have the easiest recipes ever and are mighty tasty, too. I highly recommend it - they take the sting out of having to cook for oneself.

Haystacks said...

Eating Out is the Devil. You are not at all in control. My solution: Sammiches