5 min read

Cost of dieting

Posted in: Research

British women will spend a staggering average £25,233 on diets over the course of their lives in some cases, it was revealed yesterday (22 July 2010).

With around three diets a year on average started by women, the bid to shed the pounds can all too often involve some serious spending.

When dieting, women splash out an average £180.81 on related spending, including gym memberships, health and fitness magazines, slimming clubs and exercise clothes.

As each diet only lasts 19 days on average, that’s a total of £485.25 every year.

Just under three weeks into the diet, the majority of women tend to lose their enthusiasm; slimming foods are pushed to the back of the kitchen cupboard, and the gym is neglected.

Which means from the age of 18, women are squandering potentially hundreds of pounds every year with each bid to drop a dress size.

The Engage Mutual survey of 3,000 people shows the biggest diet breakers for women are chocolate, crisps and wine.

Tina Clare for Engage Mutual, said:

“We applaud women for wanting to be healthier, but rather than embark on expensive diets and impossible fitness regimes which are hard to maintain, it is preferable to introduce long term lifestyle changes, which will have lasting benefit.”

“Women tend to go all out in an attempt to shed a few pounds – spending on magazine subscriptions, gym memberships, training clothes and slimming aids. In reality though, sticking to a restricted diet for any length of time, is extremely difficult, which is why it is better to introduce a more realistic routine involving regular exercise and healthy eating.”

The survey shows that during the average 19-day-diet, women spend £6.06 on health and fitness books and magazines and a further £10.86 on joining specialist slimming clubs.  Gym memberships account for £18.90, and £18.98 is spent on exercise equipment for the home – which they admit they do not use very much.

And another £36.38 will go towards new exercise clothes and trainers.

But it’s the bill from the supermarket shop that is likely to suffer the most from a new faddy diet.  This goes up by a whopping £70.56 over the course of 19 days – as women spend an extra £43.16 on food, and £27.41 on branded slimming foods.

Nine out of 10 women say they are really enthusiastic at the start of a diet, and 58 per cent say they are investing their money by spending it on healthy food, equipment and exercise clothes to help them along the way.

But according to the research, on average by the fifth day of dieting, 67 percent of women will have broken their diet.  Nearly half of them won’t tell a single soul but will carry on and pretend nothing has happened.

For most women, critical diet danger times are three in the afternoon, and eight o’clock at night, with chocolate being the chief temptation for 58 percent.

Other diet breakers women can’t resist include crisps for 38 per cent, and wine and pizza for 31 per cent respectively.

Cheese, cakes, biscuits, pasta, chips and ice cream also prove irresistible for some waivering dieters.

Engage Mutual’s Tina Clare continues:

“We all succumb to temptation at one time or another, but following a balanced diet and enjoying regular exercise is a good start for those seeking a healthier lifestyle, or wanting to feel happier about their weight.

“Taking action to maintain health on an every day basis could help prevent some health problems developing.”

Breakdown of faddy diet spends

 Average spend per diet  Cost
 Magazines and books  £6.06
 Slimming clubs  £10.86
 Exercise clothes  £17.27
 Exercise footwear  £19.11
 Gym membership  £18.90
 Exercise equipment  £18.98
 Food  £43.16
 Slimming foods  £27.41
 Total per diet  £161.75

Most dieters diet three times per year. In the extreme, starting at age 18, dieting to age 70 (i.e. over 52 years) this could add up to £25,233

3 diets x £161.75 = £485.25

£485.25 x 52 years = £25,233

Top 10 diet breakers

      1.  Chocolate
      2. Crisps
      3. Wine
      4. Pizza
      5. Cakes
      6. Biscuits
      7. Cheese
      8. Chips
      9. Ice Cream
      10. Pasta