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Shrinking Your Way to Growth


Here's the skinny on what it costs.


As a rule, I'm not one to boast. But I'm tooting my own horn this week because I reached a big personal milestone.

I'm at the official goal weight I set for myself when I joined Weight Watchers (WTW) way back on January 5! I've lost 35.8 pounds. This accomplishment feels really great! Thank you. Thank you.

It's the first time in decades (if ever) that I fit into adult clothes that are a single digit! I figure I've also reduced the odds for my premature demise or any weight-related job discrimination. In this market, you just can't be too careful.

What does it cost to get skinnier? My total outlay to date is roughly $1,300 for weight and fitness-related expenses and another grand or so for new clothes to flaunt the results.

It breaks down as:

  • $359.55 for Weight Watchers membership dues ($39.95 for a monthly pass gives me unlimited meetings and full online access). If I stay within two pounds of my goal for six more weeks, I'll earn free lifetime membership.

  • $792 for a gym membership. I did get to run on a treadmill there next to N.J. Governor and Goldman Sachs (GS) alum Jon Corzine. But this has turned out to be a so-so investment so far because I signed a contract locking me in for 12 months, and couldn't use it for 4 months after my ankle misadventure in the National Gallery. On the positive side, the two months I spent with my hunky trainers in physical therapy mean I'm making smarter use of the gym now that I'm back.

  • $149 or so on new gymwear. It's baggier now, but I can still get away with wearing it.

  • $500 on work and play clothes on sale at Nordstrom (JWN). On a trip to San Francisco, spurred on by a girlfriend, I bought these high-quality items and I wear them all the time, so I think the investment was a sound one. I also turned to Nordstrom for a dress to wear to a black-tie wedding in August. A garment like that is timeless. And I had to get a new bathing suit. I picked a little red number.

Most of my other clothes I now buy at thrift stores or discounters like TJ Maxx (TJX). When your weight fits your height, it's a lot easier to shop at these places and walk away with stylish items.

I found swapping healthy foods for not-so-healthy is a break-even cost.

By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, I'll earn back in spades what I've shelled out by the elimination of potential costs for medication and health care treatment for weight-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and who knows what else.

I'd like to say it was health that motivated me in the first place. But truth is I'd had enough of my chins on Facebook and other social networks. You never know these days when or where a camera is going to show up. And I'm still looking forward to that class reunion.

Now that I realize how good it feels to work patiently toward a goal and to achieve it, I'm already contemplating my next one.

What kind of investment are you making in your personal health? Weigh in on The Exchange. (No pun intended.)

No positions in stocks mentioned.
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