3.6 The Actual and Hidden Costs of Pursuing Wellness

by | May 15, 2023

Show Notes:

Welcome back to the Joyful Movement Show! In this episode, we’re diving into a topic that often goes overlooked: the true cost of pursuing wellness. We’ve all heard about the financial investments required for diets, cleanses, and gym memberships, but today we’re delving deeper. 

Join me as we explore the hidden expenses—financial, mental, emotional, and social—that come with chasing the elusive goal of wellness.

What you’ll learn by listening:

  • How to assess whether your quest for wellness is costing you more than you can afford
  • How to make quality decisions about investing in your wellness.
  • How to increase your self belief so you can feel confident making the best choice for you

The Joyful Movement Show; Episode 3.6: The Actual and Hidden Cost of Wellness Culture


Hey there! Welcome back to the Joyful Movement Show, where we’re all about making wellness simple. This is the sixth episode in our series, and we’ve been diving deep into why pursuing health and wellness can feel so challenging, despite our strong commitment to it.

Today, I want to delve into the cost of pursuing wellness. This topic came up recently in my coaching mastermind, where we were challenged to calculate how much we’ve spent on dieting, pursuing thinness, or chasing wellness throughout the years. Let me tell you, I was completely astounded when I saw the final number in black and white. I’ll share that number with you in just a moment.

While I had a sense that I had invested a significant amount of time, money, and mental and emotional energy into pursuing wellness, I had never taken the time to actually calculate the total cost. I wanted to share this exercise with you today on the show because perhaps you’ve never done the math either. Maybe you’ve never considered the financial and other costs of chasing wellness, health, or fitness.

Now, before we dive in, I want to make it clear that I have no opinion on how you allocate your resources. There’s no judgment here. I’m not here to shame you or tell you how to spend your money, time, or energy. You are the boss of your own life. I’m bringing up this exercise to raise your awareness because, like me, it might be an eye-opening experience for you. It made me grateful that I’ve freed myself from all of that now, and it made the value I received from investing in coaching and mentorship even more apparent.

What is the quest for wellness costing YOU?

Alright, let’s get started. Grab a piece of paper and a pen if you can. I want you to jot down a rough estimate, without overthinking or crunching too many numbers, of how much money you’ve spent on the following things throughout your involvement in wellness culture.

1.  First, consider how much money you’ve spent on actual diets such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or similar programs where you pay someone to guide your eating habits and provide counseling or support. Write down that number.

2.  Next, think about cleanses, detoxes, or shake systems. Have you purchased any of these products or tried DIY cleanses or juice cleanses? Include the cost of the cleanses themselves, as well as any fancy ingredients or equipment you bought for your own cleanses.

3.  What about challenges? Whether it’s Beachbody or other 12-week or 6-week weight loss programs, or those “get summer ready” or “new year, new you” programs. How much have you spent on these?

4.  Now, let’s consider things like elimination diets or specific lifestyles such as keto, paleo, or clean eating. While there might not be a program cost associated, but what was the cost of the special foods you were eating? Organic, specialized food products like “superfoods” cost a whole lot more.

5. What about things like gym memberships? Equipment, maybe to set up your home gym or a special workout clothes or shoes, personal trainers, training programs, or apps? Races that you’ve signed up for. 

6. Consider the cost of  weight loss drugs, like Ozempic or the like. Maybe you’ve never actually purchased these things yet, but you’ve considered it and you’re already doing the math on how much these things cost and could you afford to do it for the rest of your life?

7.  Consider less tangible things, but can also be a  cost of chasing wellness or chasing thinness. Things like clothing. When you change sizes frequently and have to keep investing in a new wardrobe. What about things like supplements, vitamins? Even personal care and home products – are you buying only “clean” and organic?


The Joyful Movement Show; Episode 3.6: The Actual and Hidden Cost of Wellness Culture

The Financial Burden

When I paused to estimate the total cost of my wellness pursuits over the years, I was taken aback. A rough estimate put the figure at $12,400, but I’m certain the actual amount is much higher. 

On average, I was spending over $3,000 per year on supplements, gym memberships, and other wellness-related products. Now, don’t get me wrong; some of these purchases were necessary and beneficial. However, I was often buying more than I could afford in my relentless pursuit of health.

Beyond Dollars and Cents

The financial aspect was just the tip of the iceberg. There were mental, emotional, and social costs that I hadn’t fully acknowledged until now. I remember missing out on social events due to dietary restrictions, meticulously reading ingredient labels, and customizing menu items to suit my needs. 

Chasing wellness also took a toll on my relationships. During an anniversary dinner with my ex-husband, I was strictly following the Whole30 program. I couldn’t have grains, sugar, alcohol, or even a taste of what others were enjoying. I ordered broiled chicken with customized side dishes and felt proud of sticking to my plan. But my joy quickly turned into disappointment when I realized the sweet potato fries I ordered were coated in a light batter containing flour—a violation of my diet. It ruined the evening, leaving me hungry, envious of my ex-husband’s wine and dessert, and upset with myself for not being in full control.

While I won’t solely blame my dietary choices for the breakdown of my marriage, it did contribute to the strain. Additionally, my obsession with food and exercise consumed my thoughts throughout the day. Hours were spent planning meals, prepping food from scratch, and devoting at least an hour daily to intense workouts. It became a significant chunk of my life, all in pursuit of staying thin and supposedly healthy.

The mental energy I invested in maintaining my wellness routine was immense. I constantly worried about my weight, stressed about potential mistakes, and strived to portray an image of having it all together. What others didn’t see was the disordered eating, body dysmorphia, anxiety, and low self-worth that lurked beneath the surface. The payoff of having a smaller body and receiving praise from others wasn’t worth the psychological damage I was inflicting upon myself.


Is the Payoff Worth the Cost?

That’s the question we need to ask ourselves when it comes to investing in our well-being. I want to make it clear that I’m not here to judge how you choose to spend your money or prioritize your life. It’s all about your personal motivation and whether the investment feels worth it to you.

So, let’s dive into this question: Are you content with what you’re currently investing in your health and wellness? If the answer is yes, then that’s fantastic! But if you’re not satisfied with where your current investments are taking you, then I’m here to help.

I have to admit that when I was deep in the pursuit of wellness and thinness, I didn’t fully grasp the true costs of my actions. Looking back, I realize that my quest was costing me more than I could afford—financially, emotionally, and in all aspects of my life. It was a heavy burden to carry, and it brought shame because I saw how it affected my family, relationships, and overall well-being. I knew deep down that what I was doing wasn’t healthy or sustainable, but I felt trapped because I believed it was the only way to achieve health, happiness, and confidence.

In hindsight, I wish I had taken the time to sit with that information and reflect on the costs of my actions. I wish I had known that there was another reality possible—a reality where I could feel confident in my body, make decisions about my health without obsessing over my weight, enjoy all foods, and engage in movement that brought me joy. But back then, I was unaware of the possibilities.

It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a podcast like this one that I discovered there was a different path I could follow. And from that point on, my journey of self-discovery and liberation began – though the path to freedom also came at a cost.

There was a financial investment in coaching programs, and I won’t sugarcoat it—it was a significant expense. It also required time, commitment, and effort on my part. There was a mental and emotional investment as well. However, when I compare this investment to the amount of money, time, and energy I had already poured into diet culture without seeing results, I can confidently say that it was worth it.

The Joyful Movement Show; Episode 3.6: The Actual and Hidden Cost of Wellness Culture

Why It’s Scary to Invest in Ourselves

Ok – Let’s do a little money coaching.

Why? Well, because I know that when it comes to investing in coaching and freeing ourselves from the grip of diet culture, money often becomes a major roadblock. It doesn’t matter if the program costs a hundred dollars or ten thousand dollars; people still tend to cite money as the reason for hesitating to step off that rollercoaster and say yes to themselves. Trust me, I get it. It’s incredibly scary and venturing into the unknown can be daunting. Believe me, I was right there in your shoes.

So, let’s talk about it. Let’s take the power out of money because, at the end of the day, money is just a circumstance. Circumstances are neutral, and it’s our thoughts about money that often contribute to feeling blocked when it comes to investing in our freedom from this relentless pursuit of wellness that we know isn’t working.

But before we dive into the money coaching, I want to acknowledge my privilege and recognize that for many people, investing in a coaching program at any price point simply isn’t possible. When you’re faced with the decision of buying food or paying rent, finances become a real issue. I’m fully aware of the financial insecurity many people face, which is why I’m committed to providing valuable content for free through my podcast, email list, and social media channels. I want to ensure that everyone has access to the help they need, regardless of their financial situation.

Now, let’s get back to the topic at hand. Sometimes, we say we can’t afford something, but deep down, we might be playing tricks on ourselves. Let’s imagine a scenario where you’ve considered joining a course or group program, or perhaps you’ve even had a consultation to explore one-on-one coaching and found out the cost. Then, suddenly, that cost becomes a stumbling block, and you think, “It’s too much money. I can’t do it.”

Now, here’s a tough question for you: If the exact amount of money needed to fund that program was right in front of you on a table, in plain sight—dollar bills waiting to be spent—would it be an easy yes for you? Would you confidently say, “Yes, I earned that money, it’s mine, and I can spend it without hesitation”?

Or let’s flip the situation. If your child or a loved one needed that same amount of money for treatment or to improve their life in some way, would you be able to find the money? Would you search high and low, ask for help, or do whatever it takes to ensure they get the support they need?

If you answered yes to finding the money for your loved one but no to spending it on yourself, it tells me that it’s not about the money itself. It’s about your self-belief and self-trust. Perhaps you’re unsure if it will work for you, or you doubt your ability to do the necessary work. 

The evidence from your past experiences in the wellness culture has shown that all the things you’ve tried before have failed. It’s completely understandable that you lack faith in your capacity to do something different, especially when the desired outcome seems impossible and there’s no evidence to support its possibility. It requires having faith that the impossible can become possible and that you possess the strength to undertake the journey.

So, the real question to ask yourself when deciding whether to invest in yourself and embrace a diet-culture-free life isn’t, “Do I have the money?” Instead, it’s, “Do I genuinely want to change? Am I truly ready to change? And do I trust myself to put in the work required to attain the freedom I desire?”


Food and Body Freedom is Available to YOU

Rather than focusing on whether you have the money to invest in yourself, consider whether you are willing to invest in your own self-belief. Are you willing to create safety within yourself and challenge your beliefs about health and weight? Are you willing to have faith in the possibility of a life where you can eat what you want, wear what you want, go where you want, and exercise as you please?

Think about the benefits of a life free from food rules, punitive exercise, and scales. What would it make available to you? When you reflect on the cost and payoff of your current approach to wellness and compare it to what could be available to you, what feels like the most worthwhile use of your resources?

It takes courage to invest in yourself without knowing whether your efforts will pay off. You need to have faith in yourself, in the non-diet approach, in the program, and in the coach you’re considering working with. Reflect on your lack of belief and do some more research if necessary. Listen to podcasts, read books, and seek out testimonials.


Kim Hagle is a Size Inclusive Personal Trainer, Intuitive Eating and Body Image Coach who helps women discover joyful movement and body confidence

Remember that you are smarter, more resilient, and more capable than you give yourself credit for. Think of a time in your life when you took a chance on something that seemed impossible and it worked out. You can do hard things and you have what it takes. If you have even a tiny bit of belief in yourself and you’re ready to embrace a non-diet approach to wellness, reach out for help.

The life you desire, characterized by body trust, confidence, and acceptance, is available to you. Don’t let your lack of self-belief hold you back from achieving it. Book a free consultation with me, and we’ll talk about what it would look like to move from where you are now, struggling and obsessed, to complete body trust.

Mentioned in the show:

Simplified Wellness is a 3 day virtual retreat, you’ll learn how to define health on your terms, set health goals that matter to you and create habits that actually stick.

Click here

Simplified Wellness Weekend Retreat:  June 2-4, where we’ll work together to create a lifestyle that works for YOU, so you can feel great in AND about your body.

During this 3 day virtual retreat, you’ll learn how to define health on your terms, set health goals that matter to you and create habits that actually stick.  

It’s going to be a value packed weekend, full of learning, community, coaching and growth.  

Priced at just $97, my goal is that you never pay for another wellness plan or program again – this retreat will equip you to trust yourself to be the expert of your body.



Testimonial podcast episodes:

Kandace’s story

Natalie’s story

Zara’s story

Robin’s story

Stacey’s story

Kathy’s story

Jennifer’s story

Angela’s story

Joe’s Story

My Favourite Non-Diet Books

The Wellness Trap and Anti-Diet – Christy Harrison

Intuitive Eating – Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

More than a Body – Lindsay and Lexie Kite

Unapplogetic Eating – Alyssa Rumsey

About the Host

Kim Hagle (she/her)  is Certified Personal Trainer, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Body Image Coach and founder of Radiant Vitality Wellness. 

Through mindset and movement coaching she helps women heal their relationship with food and exercise while disconnecting their worth from their weight, so they can feel healthy, happy and confident in the body they have.  

New to the Show?  Download our FREE podcast roadmap to find the best episodes to start with on each of our main topics (joyful movement, motivation, body image and intuitive eating).  

Ready to take the next step?  Visit our website to learn more about our coaching programs 

Let’s stay in touch! Kim is on Instagram and Facebook @radiantvitalitywellness.  

Disclaimer.  The information contained in this podcast is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice.  Always consult a health care professional about your unique needs.