5 ways being overweight costs you money

Being overweight or obese may be taking a toll on your health, but it’s also costing you money. Here’s how your weight affects your wallet

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woman on scale weight loss diet

Lose weight and save money

According to Statistics Canada, the cost of obesity is $4.3 billion dollars a year. Most of us can't even imagine what that sum would look like. But have you considered how much excess weight might be costing you personally? Not only is being overweight or obese potentially harmful to your health, but it also comes with a financial cost. Here's what may be draining your bank account.

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fast food meal

1. Fast foods

If you think it's too expensive to eat healthier, home-cooked meals, think again. According to a 2011 survey by BMO Bank of Montreal, Canadians spend 32 percent of their disposable income on dinners out, which tend to be higher in calories and fat than meals cooked at home.

Fresh produce and meats may seem to cost more than their pre-packaged, fast-food counterparts, but consider this:  the price of a serving of our Hearty Lentil Orange Soup is about $1.30, whereas buying a soup at Tim Hortons costs more than twice as much.

If you find it challenging to think up a healthy meal after a long day of work, here are two weeks of healthy dinner ideas to get you started.

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shopping

2. New clothes

Updating your wardrobe when you gain weight can cost you big bucks. The average Canadian household spends about $3,000 annually on clothing. If your pants start feeling tight mid-year, you can imagine how that cost can skyrocket. What's more, some retailers don't offer as many options in larger sizes, giving you less opportunity to shop around for the best deal.

Whether you're a size 6 or 12, maintaining a consistent weight means you can invest in quality pieces that will last you a long time - which certainly gives you more bang for your buck.

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weight loss diet

3. Fad diets

Not only is yo-yo dieting frustrating and unhealthy, it also puts a strain on your wallet. A 2011 report by the Canadian Obesity Network suggests that diets and weight-loss schemes are causing obese Canadians to drop cash, rather than pounds. Those surveyed spent an average of $766 on gym memberships, $906 on weight-loss programs and $406 on special diets in the previous year.

Maintaining a healthy weight doesn't have to cost a lot. Here's the only weight loss plan you'll ever need - free of charge.

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oral medication

4. Medications

It's no secret that being overweight or obese can put you at higher risk for illnesses such as heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. You can't put a price on your health, but being ill does come with a financial cost. The Canadian Diabetes Association says that people with diabetes spend between $1,000 to $15,000 a year on medication and supplies. And cardiovascular diseases cost the Canadian economy more than $20.9 billion each year, according to The Heart and Stroke Foundation.  That works out to about $615 per person.

The good news: losing weight and making healthier lifestyle choices may help reduce your risk for disease.

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women on bikes

5. Transportation

Extra pounds can even cost you more in gas money. According to researchers at the University of Illinois, overweight American drivers spend $7.7 million on gas every day. The reason? The more weight your vehicle has to carry, the more fuel it needs to burn.

Being overweight may also be keeping you from walking or biking to work, which could cut hundreds from your transportation budget each year.

Not only can cycling and walking save you money, they're a great way to get fit and lose weight.  Get started with our guide to tuning up your bicycle and this 12-week walking program.

Related:
5 surprising ways being fit saves you money
6 reasons why you're overweight
10 ways to stay healthy on the cheap