Monday, December 6, 2010

The cost of being skinny...

One of the first things I did after making the initial decision to have this surgery, was to see if it was going to be covered by my insurance.  I knew that I certainly couldn’t afford to pay for it on my own and I didn’t want to get too excited if it wasn’t going to happen for me.  Fortunately….(or unfortunately…however you look at it)…my BMI was high enough to have the surgery covered.  


When I got this news, I remember thinking how lucky I was that I was going to have this fantastic surgery and it wasn’t going to cost me a single dime. 

But I was wrong.  Oh so wrong.

Now, I knew that there would be co-pays and medicines involved that I would have to at least partially pay for.  (Did you know chewable and liquid forms of meds tend to be more expensive….yeah, neither did I!)  But it’s the OTHER stuff that no one tells you about that will surprise you. 

That is until now.

There are “incidental costs” that come along with having this surgery that people should be prepared for.   Some of them aren’t even medical, but I feel these things are required for success (and survival) to get you through your first year post op. 

The first is special foods.  I remember being so excited about how cheap my grocery bill was going to be.  And, yes…I certainly buy less food…but what I buy was and is DAMN expensive.  Protein shakes, protein bars, fresh fruits and veggies, low cal/low sugar/“diet” meals….it is all disgustingly overpriced.  Not to mention the amount of food you have to THROW AWAY because it spoils before you can eat it.  (Or because you can’t buy it in small enough portions.)  Eventually, I learned how to shop for myself, but occasionally this still happens and throwing away food drives me absolutely bananas.  

Next would be exercise expenses.  I joined a gym.  And got a trainer.  Sure, these costs may be considered “optional” by some people.  But, since working out was recommended by the physicians, I knew it was important.  I also felt becoming more physically fit was a necessity to have the kind of success I wanted….and have had. 

And how about the clothing?  Oh my lord, the clothing. 

I will tell you right now that after this surgery you will need to replace your ENTIRE wardrobe.  Don’t believe me?  I legitimately have NOTHING in my closet that is over 3 months old.  Including shoes…and underwear.  

It’s nuts. 

When you start dropping weight all you want to do is buy new clothes.  It’s natural….and really friggin’ exciting.  But resisting this urge is so hard.  Don’t get me wrong, you will NEED to buy clothes.  But the amount of clothes and where you buy them from will change. 

For example, I learned that when you try on a bathing suit that makes you feel good, you will buy it, no matter how much it costs.  Like the bathing suit I bought this June (see this post)….that I spent about $150 on…and wore….mmmm….less than 8 times.   In the middle of summer, I found that it didn’t fit anymore and I had to buy ANOTHER one.  (This time from the sale rack at Sears.) 

I felt like every 10 pounds I lost were going to be the last 10…and all I wanted to do was shop for new, cuter, smaller clothes.  But after doing this a few times (and donating several hundred dollars worth of “only worn 3 times” clothing) I eventually learned my lesson.

Instead of buying clothes all the time, I started a “new wardrobe” savings account that I will use next year when my weight stabilizes.  The thought of the serious amount of finacial damage I will do when I get to use this fund makes me need to take a moment to myself.   


When I was younger, I remember laying in my bed at night…staring at the ceiling and thinking to myself that no matter what the cost, I would pay any amount to be healthy and have a new body.  So, does that still apply?  Absolutely. 

But every once an awhile I think about how, with all the money I’ve spend on gastric bypass “stuff” this year, I could have a nice new car…or could have gone on a fantastic tropical vacation.  And I wonder, is it really worth it? 

And I answer yes…every single time.     


  1. i'm glad you feel confident about your decision, that's all that matters! i never knew liquid/chewable meds were more $ either!

  2. Kristen, My sister got the lapband a little over a year ago and she's spent most of her clothing budget at yard sales. Shoes, too. I had the lapband surgery in October and I've inherited everything that's too big for her. It's too cold for yard sales now, but you might consider consignment stores.

  3. Kristen, aka, Mother Superior. Not sure if you saw my other comment. This is Mr Kelley from SL! I was talking with Ms D and she told me about your blog. I had the surgery a week ago! So far so good. I am following the blog now. My name is Moochonski. It's a name my kids made up when they were little. Glad you are doing well. Feel free to contact me. My email is on the SL site. The picture of me is from 2004, the last time I lost a lot of weight.

  4. At one of my first support group meetings this topic came up and was told to visit the Salvation Army store and get to know people there so they guide you to some of the good things and let you know when new things near your size arrived. It was good advice and the other piece of good advice was to definitely get rid of all the large sized clothing because I know at my highest weight, I would kind of go back and forth with 15 lbs or so and had several similar styles in different large sizes. I never want to go back there, so once I had made a decent dent in my weight, I got rid of all the large things. Now I've reached a plateu (3 years post RNY) and am not where I need to be yet, but feel so much better and have decreased the med list to three from eleven, so now have gotten decent things in this size, since I've been here awhile now. It is the best decision I made as well despite the costs you have mentioned. Wishing you continued progress and Happy Holidays.