You Can’t Buy Health, You Gotta Earn It

I have a strong stance that makes a lot of people uncomfortable, as it’s something we’ve all been guilty of. You can’t buy health.

By that, I mean, don’t buy meal plans, diet foods, health pills, or even… gym memberships.

Let’s get this out of the way first:
I’m not criticizing you, I’m criticizing something you’ve bought/consumed and societal trends. You. Are. Not. What. You. Buy. Or. Consume.

We can’t buy health, just like we can’t buy mental discipline. I don’t care what fitness influencers or diet culture or ads tell you.

The most common argument I hear about buying these things is, “But, Megan, if I put money towards a gym membership/meal plan/magic pills it’ll make me follow through. Then I’ll actually do it!”

No, sweetie.

Imagine me saying this in an understanding and gentle tone, cuz it’s a harsh truth (and, deep deep down, you’re aware I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know). If you need to pay money to make yourself do something, then you already don’t have the mental discipline needed to ensure lasting habit change. You’re trying to start from a deficit.

Building mental discipline and tolerance for risk aversion is free and will contribute to habit change.

But! There are some things that I think are worth paying for where health and fitness are concerned.

Favorite health and fitness tools that are worth paying for

  • Therapy. Learn about positive/negative coping skills, why you do what you do, triggers, and goal setting.
  • Blood panels. How’s your thyroid, hormones, iron, minerals, etc.? Answers to these questions can guide you on your health quest.
  • Some supplements. Not magic blends or pills that promise the world. Look for supplements that contain things like magnesium, trace minerals, stuff that the average American lacks and is hard to get even if you don’t eat the standard American diet.
  • Short term guidance from a nutritionist or fitness coach. They must be certified, with good references. Bonus points if they’re local.
  • At home workout equipment. A set of weights, a mat, a kettle bell (here’s my favorite!). Nothing crazy. You can very easily lift weights, do bodyweight exercises, follow free aerobic workouts on YouTube, and take walks or runs. None of this needs to be expensive or fancy. Paying to get exercise is a dangerous and slippery slope.
  • Classes at a local studio (not a nationwide chain gym). If you must pay for some form of exercise, go this route.
  • Good shoes. Maybe the only thing I suggest splurging on. I got a pair of Brooks and they help a lot with my walking workouts.

If you’re completely clueless about all this (no shame!) there are tons of free resources out there. Hit the library, internet, YouTube, and podcasts. Google authors, gurus, and systems before spending much time on them, tho.

And don’t do the “I’m gonna get fit so I’ll spend a bunch of money on expensive leggings and stuff” trap. You need comfortable clothes. If you think, “But this will inspire me to actually do it,” then you’re still just starting with a mental discipline deficit.

Throwing money at Big Diet is the same as throwing money at Big Food. They’re bedfellows.

Normalize change without consumption. Especially where health is concerned.

Picture of Megan


Megan writes everything on Ish Mom. She possesses a bachelor's degree in psychology, a flair for theatrics, and a whole lotta nerve. She lives in the Midwest (and loves it) with her wonderful husband and three young boys.

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