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Losing weight—a waste of time?

December 1, 2008

A few months ago I realised I needed to lose weight. Now I wasn’t huge or anything, but I did realise that if I didn’t change my diet and/or begin to exercise I would probably end up with a few health problems in the not-so-distant future. So I started walking more often and took more notice of what I was eating. Eventually I joined a gym.

I go to the gym, on average, about three times a week. Each work out takes about two hours—one-and-a-half for the workut and half an hour to recover afterwards. That’s six hours per week, which comes in (in round figures) at about 300 hours per year. That’s a little less than two weeks per year.

I should add that the exercise hasn’t been in vain—I’m at a much healthier weight now and I am far more able to play with the kids, the dog and the netball team I coach.

Still, that’s a lot of time. Is it really worth it?

Let’s think about that. If I continue with that regime for 26 years I would have spent one whole year working out in the gym. That is a lot of time.

If any of my readers happen to be actuaries I’d appreciate your input here. In 26 years I’ll be 61. If I’m going to get that year back I have to live to 62. Let’s compare:

  • If I stop going to the gym, what’s the chance I’ll live to 61?
  • If I keep going to the gym, what’s the chance I’ll live past 62?

If the answer to the second question is higher than the answer to the first—and I suspect it is—I’m (statistically speaking) gaining time. In other words, I don’t have time to stop going to the gym.

There are a lot of other things I could take into account here. Because I am generally fitter, I take less time to do physically demanding jobs. In fact, I feel more motivated to do them to begin with, so I’m more productive. On the other hand, I spend more time cooking. But I enjoy my food more, so that’s a moot point.

Financially it’s not so great. My medical expenses are more or less covered either way, so I don’t save much money. Gym fees cost me, and eating fresh food can be more expensive, especially if it’s good quality. My clothes don’t fit me as well, although I still have many things I’ve grown out of! As my mother always told me, if you have to choose between health and wealth, choose health. And it’s certainly money well spent.

All up, I think I’m making a wise investment here. It seems a little strange analysing my health in this way, but when I’m pulling away at the rowing machine, I need every incentive I can find to keep going.

Have I missed anything? Let me know!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2008 10:15 pm

    what a great post!!

    (I came to you via John Smulo’s blog)

  2. December 4, 2008 5:57 am

    i agree that you should put your health first. i have been working out 3-5 times a week for over a year. yes, it’s a benefit to me physically but it’s more beneficial to me mentally, emotionally, psychologically. those are things you can’t put a price tag on because they’re, well, priceless. keep yp the great work!

    p.s. i came to you via John Smulo and Blog Comment Day. i’m glad i stopped by!

  3. Cameron permalink
    December 4, 2008 9:54 am

    Thanks for stopping by, Emma! I don’t think there’s any real question about looking after your health. I just found a rough back-of-the-envelope calculation about its effect rather interesting.

    So… feel free to come back, have a look around and please, leave a note!

  4. John Duthie permalink
    December 15, 2008 11:46 am

    FIrstly I have to say that I need to eat better and lose weight. I believe that we as Christians should be looking after the bodies that have been given to us on a temporary loan from God. I’ll never understand why Christians smoke. How can this be a good witness to non Christians, and what is this saying about God’s creation or image ?

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