How Much Does It Cost To Lose 10 lbs?

The holidays are the time to pack on the pounds and then resolve to lose them, so it’s a perfect time to find out how much does it cost to lose 10 lbs in a month? WeightLossMadeEasy rounds up the numbers of some popular diet programs.

Diet / cost per month
Atkins Diet 402.08
Diet To Go (1600 Calories) 523.96
Diet To Go (1200 Calories) 467.96
Dr Siegal Cookie Diet 224.00
Dr Sears Zone Diet 371.36
Jenny Craig 550.60
MediFast 275.00
NutriSystem 293.72
Ornish Diet 299.36
Slim Fat 310.92
South Beach Diet 314.44
Sonoma Diet 274.00
Weight Watchers 386.56

Personally, we like drinking 4 tbps of canola oil per day to lose weight. It costs $4.99 a bottle.

Diet Cost Calculation [Weight Loss Made Easy]
(Photo: matt coats)


Edit Your Comment

  1. cashmerewhore says:

    4 T of canola oil would make me bulemic…

  2. Kottles says:

    So much more cheaper than jogging and reducing calorie intake.:/

  3. HRHKingFriday says:

    To be fair though, how much does it cost to be fat? I’d guess a lot of people spend more than 200 dollars on regular food too. The most expensive diet though is the Whole Foods natural diet- which is sad because thats a lot better for you than all the artificial stuff in Nutrisystem. A friend of mine got that one time and half of the stuff is in gel packs. Like Pizza. In a gel pack. gross.

  4. econobiker says:

    Eat only ramen noodles for a month – about $15.

  5. cashmerewhore says:


    the brownie that looks like a cheap cut of steak has scared me away from their meal plan.

  6. HeyThereKiller says:

    I miss my totally legit prescription for adderall…

    ::sigh:: college

  7. bonzombiekitty says:

    @econobiker: Medical bills for treatment for vitamin and other nutritional deficiencies: thousands.

  8. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    Ramen Noodles & Mountian Dew. The 2 worst possible food substances you can eat on a regular basis. :D

  9. Gesh.. just buy a damn treadmill.

  10. inelegy says:

    Or, you could skip lunch and do a few sit ups, fat ass.

    Cost for my diet plan? Paypal me $100 and I’ll do the math for you.

  11. shan6 says:

    It has always bothered me that it costs so much to eat healthy and natural. That has to be the biggest drain on my budget, and really tempts me to go down the unhealthy road.

    At least I have the worlds fastest metabolism and don’t worry about gaining weight.

  12. godai says:

    I actually just speant $1000 to loose 22 pounds over the last 3 months.

    The $1000 was for a nutritional weight loss program at a local hospital. 6 people in the class, 2 dropped, i don’t think the rest lost as much as me.

    But even though thats more then the other programs, its still worth it since the program was made to meet the requirements of my insurance company.

    I’m planning on getting bariatric surgery in January and a strict physician diet is required by the insurance. (Yay for hoops)

    As for the plan, the cost wasn’t worth what you got if you don’t take into the account how much the insurance is going to pay for the surgery.

    What we got from the plan:

    Body measurements/calculations
    Food logging software
    Class once a week.
    Exercise clas once a week
    3 month membership to YMCA

    No suppliments or such. Basically a nutritionist would go over the food logs, make suggestions, etc.

    It was interesting but i doubt i would of taken it if I didn’t need the insurance to cover the operation which runs $10-20K

  13. PlayWithSlurry says:

    @ econobiker

    …mmm scurvy.

  14. sburnap42 says:

    I must be doing it wrong. I lost twenty pounds and saved money by simply eating less than normal.

  15. What happened to the old comments for this article? Were they supposed to disappear?

  16. ParadigmABQ says:

    “Slim Fat”? There’s an oxymoron for you.

  17. MonkeyMonk says:

    I lost around 40 pounds a few years ago doing to mixture of Atkins and South Beach. It didn’t really cost me anything except for a reference book for each diet (probably $20 total) and then the cost of food (which I would have bought anyway). I didn’t buy any of their branded products . . . . just a lot of meat & other proteins to start and then slowly phasing into a normal diet rich with fresh greens and protein. About the only thing I gave up totally were bad carbs and sugary sweets. I also exercise about 3 times a week. It really wan’t very hard and I’ve been steady at 180 lbs (6′ tall) since.

  18. BlondeGrlz says:

    @ParadigmABQ: Best typo I’ve seen this week!

  19. G-Dog says:

    5 Minutes worth of Jumping Jacks = $0
    5 Minutes of Squats = $0
    10 Minutes of Shadow Boxing = $0
    10 Minutes of Jogging = $0

    Reducing your daily caloric intake by 25%-50% = $0

  20. @econobiker: You don’t help yourself out by simply eating less if you’re still eating food that’s bad for you.

    There’s more saturated fat in Ramen noodles than you might think. I actually gained weight during that period in college when I was eating almost nothing other than ramen.

  21. MikeB says:

    So far I have lost almost 40 pounds (Still counting) and about the only extra expense would be the $100 I spent for a ten week course (meeting once a week) offered where I work on eating better and making better choices. I may spend a couple extra bucks when food shopping to get Lower fat foods but it is marginal.

  22. brew400 says:

    the ymca is aprox. $20-30 a month….. you could also put down the fork

  23. theblackdog says:

    @sburnap42: Beat me to it.

  24. HRHKingFriday says:

    Heh. I’m still shocked that people need “group therapy” to figure out that reading the side of a box can make a big difference. Seriously. Compare a bag of baked lays and regular lays. Which one should you buy???

  25. RokMartian says:

    @theblackdog: Yep, me too – I stopped drinking soda too and I lost 20 lbs.

    All the canola oil/sugar water is doing is decreasing your appetite. I can’t imagine how adding sugar to the water is beneficial in anyway. You might be better off eating celery sticks to decrease your appetite.

  26. vanillabean says:

    @shan6: I eat healthy and natural and found that it’s actually cheap! A bag of lentils is $1.19. Bulk rolled oats are $.99/pound. That makes sooo much granola. If you plan carefully, buy local produce in season, and do some cooking you can eat very well for very little. Just avoid the prepared/just add water/processed/frozen stuff. (Being a vegetarian helps, meat is expensive.)

  27. DrGirlfriend says:

    Man, tough room!

  28. veronykah says:

    @shan6: I don’t buy that. Perhaps you have to LOOK for cheap fresh food, but it is out there. When I lived in NYC, there were plenty of produce markets in my neighborhood in Queens that sold produce for about 50% of what the grocery stores did.
    Now that I live in CA, same thing. Go to the Asian markets, pay 50% of what Ralphs/Whole Foods/ etc charge.
    I can go and buy 2 bags of fresh produce for $10, easy.
    I think people use, “it’s expensive” as an excuse to continue to eat crappy food. Its also expensive to pay for medications when you reap the rewards of your poor “cheap” diet.
    Also, beans, brown rice, frozen vegetables…not expensive ANYWHERE.

  29. hoosier45678 says:

    I don’t think it’s the knowledge gained, but rather that there are people to whom you’ve made a commitment. Your dog and your mom will love you no matter what, so you might do better with people who need to see you succeed in order to help them through their own tough spots.

  30. ncboxer says:

    I recently (2 weeks ago) switched my diet from eating what I wanted- cereal, soups, sandwiches, cookies, chips, eating out (no fast food, though) etc, to eating more healthy- fruit, beans, broccoli, eggs, chicken breast, wild salmon, lean beef, turkey, plain oatmeal, rice, nuts, etc. It is definitely more expensive at the grocery store each week (wild salmon costs alot), but I am probably spending equal when I factor that I am not eating out hardly at all. Basically I shop on the outside aisle of the grocery store, and hardly ever venture towards the middle where all the sugar-laden stuff is.

    I’ve only lost 4 pounds and an inch or two from my waistline, but it is a start.

  31. @HRHKingFriday:
    Actually, obesity is more common among the lower income ranges. It costs less to get less healthy foods. Scientific American did a whole issue on obesity , and reading it was surprising on how much the rate of obesity has gone up in countries where the income level would make you assume they are starving.

  32. mandarin says:

    @econobiker: Ramen noodles will make you bloated because of the sodium content.

  33. samurailynn says:

    It’s true that if you are willing to cook your own food instead of eating out, you will probably lose weight, and you’ll spend less money on food. I did my grocery shopping last night and it still surprises me when I walk the perimeter around the grocery store and realize that I’m either done, or I have only 1 or 2 items that I need to pick up from the inner aisles.

    Plus, the home cooking tastes a lot better!

  34. rachaeljean says:

    Weight watchers is just a way to account for regular food, there’s nothing special to buy… I wonder how they came up with the math for this.

  35. Asif5th says:

    Starting out in April of this year, I weighed around 180, and decided to get rid of my gut after I saw it in the mirror one day. I dropped 62 pounds in 4 months, by running 6 miles a day, and eating ~1400 calories a day. Needlessly to say, the girls were lifting more than me and I looked like I was starving.

    So I started to lift weights 3 months ago, got protein powder (~$75 for 10 pounds), Chicken breast (expensive), protein bars, fruits (oranges, bananas, apples, pears). I found it sickening how the fruit is more expensive than a bag of potato chips, and how all the sales are for junk food every damn week. Needlessly to say, I put on 15 pounds of muscle, weigh around 133 now, and have been lifting ~170 in the weight room. Basically, when you eat 5-6 times a day…it’s more expensive than eating out. I can easily get 2500 calories a day by getting a $5-6 meal at McDonalds. No wonder people are so overweight.

  36. kimsama says:

    @ncboxer: @samurailynn: Right on. I’m sure some hater is going to get on here and be like “well not everyone can do that,” but the truth is, it’s worth the investment of time and money to make your own foods.

    I switched to whole foods about 2 years ago and am much healthier feeling (I already exercise a lot, so I didn’t drop any weight, but my BP went down, and I’m getting a lot more nutrients now).

    Anything worthwhile takes time and effort. And for those saying it’s too expensive, you just have to be creative (beans instead of meat sometimes, or curries/noodles/soups and stews, which seem to be less expensive than most other foods and are easy to make and filling

    And yes, produce costs more than twinkies, but damned if my broke-ass low-SES relatives don’t buy $60 worth of cigarettes a week. I’m thinking that would cover, oh, 100% of my groceries.

  37. BStu says:

    And who refunds money to the 95-99% of dieters who regain the weight? Anyone?

    Diets are the only product with a near universal failure rate which gets consistantly blamed on the user. Try to imagine this with other products. Imagine a car line where only 5% of them actually worked. Would we blame the drivers? Or a cell phone plan where only 5% of your calls went through. Were you just calling the wrong people?

  38. cmdr.sass says:

    @HRHKingFriday: The correct answer is neither one.

  39. thalia says:

    If you’re already willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a diet program, just buy a damn Wii, clear the living room, pop in Wii Sports, and go nuts. Works for me.

  40. smitty1123 says:

    Instead of buying this weight loss crap, how about just getting more exercise?

  41. godai says:


    I know at least in the program I went through.

    They were emphisizing how this wasn’t meant to be a diet and instead were trying to make the healthy eating a habit which leads to it being a lifestyle change.

    100% of all plants bought die.
    So there’s a 100% failure rate.
    How long the plant lasts is how long you take care of it.

    How many of 95-99% failures happened even with the person sticking to the eating/exercise plans?

    Yes there are times when a person will not loose weight even if they are doing everything properly. But I doubt that is happenning for that large 95-99%.

    Heck I didn’t follow my eating /exercise plan 100% of the time but i still managed to loose weight.

  42. @RokMartian: “All the canola oil/sugar water is doing is decreasing your appetite. I can’t imagine how adding sugar to the water is beneficial in anyway. You might be better off eating celery sticks to decrease your appetite.”

    Word. What Ben’s doing is tricking his psychological hunger (“appetite” — physiological hunger is “hunger”) and retraining it. Which is totally valid, and a necessary part of MOST diet plans, since eating is often less about hunger than appetite, but doing it with canola oil and sugar isn’t a great way of doing it, since those calories are empty and, since he’s eating fewer calories otherwise, displacing necessary micronutrients. (Actually, a big glass of metamucil would probably be worlds better than the sugar water, since it could serve the same psychological purpose w/r/t appetite and you’d be getting fiber then too!)

    As a short-term solution for retraining appetite, if that’s what works, it’s what works. But it’s not miraculously working on your physiological hunger, and it’s not a good long-term solution because of deficiency problems. There are nutritionally superior methods of appetite retraining, if you can find one that works for you.

  43. HRHKingFriday says:

    @kimsama: Thats the exact point I was trying to make. There are so many anti-obesity programs these days that I can’t believe people can’t figure out that a bag of pork rinds and regular soda isn’t good for you. If you have enough money for a 12 pack of budweiser, you have enough for some vegetable soup and lean ground beef. This is not Narc Anon, people. Its freakin food!

  44. Miraluka says:

    I have idea…STOP EATING SO MUCH.
    This actually SAVES you money.

    Stop being lazy, stop lacking discipline, stop lacking self control.

    There is too much emphasis in this country on getting what you want quickly and easily. There is no such thing.

    Genetics is only a small portion of why people are overweight. The majority of it comes from your parents, your friends, the environment you grow up in. That is the biggest link between family members and being obese. Not genetics, but the fact that a child’s parents don’t care enough about their children to keep them healthy, don’t care enough about their children to teach them lessons. They would rather take the easy way out in parenting and allow their kids to do whatever they want, eat whatever they want.

    The child wants cake or it will cry. So they just give their child cake so it will stop annoying them. Well, tough luck little kid, NO CAKE. Parents with no spine lead to kids without character, without pride, without discipline.

  45. godai says:


    What about gambling?

    Its just a game, but people are addicted.

    For some people it is an addiction, people have been ingrained to deal with food = comfort for how long?

    Baby cries they are hugged and given bottle/milk.

    Kids do well and are taken out for ice cream.

    Tonsils taken out, ice cream by the truck load.

    There are other examples.

    Yes it all boils down to

    Food eaten (KCals) – Exercise done = Weight Loss/Gain

    But there are issues that people have that affect how much of each one does.

    Above someone mentioned appetite vs hunger, The Psychologist involved with the program I did, told us an easy way to point out the difference.

    When you want to eat, Wait 20 minutes.

    If you still want to eat its hunger, if not it was appetite.

  46. drjayphd says:

    @Miraluka, @inelegy, @brew400, @HRHKingFriday, @smitty1123: I suppose you’d tell a meth addict with a long and deeply entrenched habit to just stop doing meth. @godai pretty much nailed it in regards to the important thing being lifestyle change. If it was as simple to change years piled upon years of bad habits as you’d seem to think, don’t’cha think more people would’ve done it and stuck to it?

  47. samurailynn says:

    @kimsama: I used to think that cooking at home just took way too much time. However, now I think about the amount of time that it takes to drive somewhere to eat, wait for them to serve you, and then drive home. If you find some simple recipes, it actually takes less time to do it at home. I’m also lucky enough to be married to a guy who will do the majority of the kitchen clean up after dinner. (Although I do clean almost all of the dishes I use to cook while I’m cooking. Usually everything except the last pan and the dishes that go on the table are clean by the time we’re eating.) Since we’re splitting the work like that, it really isn’t so bad.

    The hardest part is planning ahead so that you have a grocery list. If I didn’t do that, I’d waste a ton of fresh vegetables and probably have to go to the grocery store a few extra times each week.

  48. UpsetPanda says:

    Sometimes I get tempted to try one of these, or to eat much less than I do, but then I kind of mentally slap myself and make myself realize that I don’t eat too much anyway, I’m not overweight (if I lost 10 lbs. I’d be underweight) and all I need is a little exercise. I know a lot of people out there actually are overweight…but a good deal of people who are trying to diet, don’t actually need a diet, they just need better (read: healthier) food and a treadmill. And a little motivation and discipline.

  49. HRHKingFriday says:

    @drjayphd: Actually, I said just the opposite- “This isn’t Narc Anon!”

    People are suffering from serious drug addictions and other real problems (abuse, rape). To me, its just a little offensive that people need someone to hold their hand while they put down the hamburger. Is this really what our society is becoming? Kids that are intolerant of everything except potatos, anti-depressants for everyone… sheesh.

  50. dwarf74 says:

    Huh. I save money when I’m losing weight. I eat in more, eat less, and don’t graze the snack machines nearly as much at work.

  51. Squot says:

    A: This is factoring in the cost of food, but I don’t understand how they can factor in the cost of Weight Watchers food. O_o You can eat whatever you like, and even if you eat the branded stuff, it’s still not 350$ a month for one person.

    Maybe, -maybe- if all you eat are frozen dinners, and you don’t find them on sale, but WW is built around eating whatever you like. I spend about 160 on groceries a month – and probably another 100+ on fast food, but that’s because I’m made of lame, not because I have too (and I’ve lost 10.5 in the past month.)

    I’ve lost 60lb in the last year, and WW costs me 16$ a month – plus the cost of food, but everyone’s got to eat, and the food is no different then anyone else’s.

    B: Crap, this reminds me I have to go grocery shopping. -_-

  52. etinterrapax says:

    @samurailynn: Agreed, and also a difficult part is doing it enough that you become good/efficient at it. You know how people are always wondering how their mothers can get everything done at the same time, with nothing overcooked and nothing raw? They wouldn’t believe that that’s a skill that takes practice. But it is.

  53. karmaghost says:

    @HeyThereKiller: OMG, same here. The Adderall was fascinating in its ability to curb my appetite. I only stopped taking it because my insurance ran out. As soon as I pick up another provider, it’s on.

    Weight Watchers could be a lot cheaper (as I’m sure it could be with other diets) if you used the publicly available “points” formula to determine the value of what you eat. Then you could take the cost of the meetings away… as long as you don’t need the moral support they provide.

  54. Find an intense exercise plan that is safe for you to execute and commit to it. Kick your body’s ass in a healthy way. As you press on, you start looking at food in a different way, as in, “Is it really worth it for me to eat this after what I have to go through to make up for it?”

    This past summer, for about a month, I did HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) running, where, 3 days a week, I would jog 30 seconds, sprint 30 seconds, repeat, for 4 minutes on day 1 and 2, then add a minute on day 3. I lost near 10-15 pounds (from ~175 to ~160) and felt great. Then of course I moved and didn’t get around to finding a new track, so I’m fatter now than I was before. Once Spring comes around, I’m doing it again, cause I need to kick my ass in gear.

  55. smitty1123 says:

    @drjayphd: “If it was as simple to change years piled upon years of bad habits as you’d seem to think, don’t’cha think more people would’ve done it and stuck to it?” It is that simple. It’s not easy, in fact it’s pretty damn hard. But it is as simple as eating less and getting more exercise.

  56. Catperson says:

    @rachaeljean: Weight Watchers encourages people to go to their meetings, which cost money, so that’s probably what the amount listed is referring to. There’s also a starter kit that explains everything. I can’t remember how much it normally is. I got one off of eBay and have been doing WW by myself (without attending meetings) for almost a year now, and I’ve lost 35 pounds. The grocery bill has gone up since I buy more lean meats and some diet convenience meals, like frozen dinners to take with me for lunch, but there’s been no other real cost. The meetings are good if you like support from others, but you can also find online message boards where you can get the same support for free. I’ve spent money on diet products in the past, but when it really came down to it, I just had to decide to do it. Spending a ton of money wasn’t going to help me.

  57. drjayphd says:

    @HRHKingFriday: If the holding of hands helps them to eat less and exercise more, I’m not gonna fault them.

    @smitty1123: Yes, but “simple” and “easy” are different concepts. But we’re in agreement there.

  58. tschepsit says:

    1 pair of nice running shoes: ~$100.

  59. swalve says:

    @godai: And the hospital doesn’t have a vested interest in you failing at losing weight…

  60. cerbie says:

    @sburnap42: it’s not that you’re doing it wrong, it’s that you gained weight just by eating too much. It’s not that simple. Many of us gain weight when we eat less. Or, gain weight eating crap, regardless of amount. I do both.

    But, it’s not insanely complicated, even if it’s not as simple as all that. Gaining weight eating less just means you need to do things a little differently. The biggest hurdle is that the fat habit(s) are comfortable, and easy to slip back into, with only a wee bit of disruptive circumstance.

  61. consumerxyz says:

    Nutrisystem is much better tasting now. I bought it for 5 months. It was much better than weight watchers food, and much cheaper than Jenny Craig. I lost about 10 lbs. a month. It has something to do with the glycemic index or something – not just low calories.