- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Top Ten Weight Loss Excuses Debunked
Excuses Enable Poor Choices
To make better choices, you need to shed those excuses. That might make it sound easy, but we all know it takes courage to challenge and overcome yourself. When you are ready, it almost happens on its own. Living an unhealthy lifestyle is a habit that you can change. Whether its quitting smoking, eating healthy, getting active, or losing weight- the hardest part is starting.
Are you ready to make a change? Here are some of the most common excuses and how to change your mind about them. I also address some valid obstacles, and how to overcome them.
Which of these weight loss excuses have you used the most?
10 Common Excuses to Change Your Mind About
#1- I'm too busy
You make time for the things that you want to do- you can make time for this. This excuse may have worked for you before, but you have to believe that as of this moment, it has no more power over your life! You control time, it does not control you. Maybe there are other things that you need to give up to make some time (which, by the way, it doesn't take a lot of). Your health, happiness, and longevity, have to be more important. The longer you wait, the more damage you are doing to your body. Get real about time- stop telling yourself how busy you are. Get a day planner and write down everything you do. Start by keeping it as a journal and slowly start using it to plan ahead. You will find that you have more time than you thought. Check out Julie Morgenstern's book, linked below.
#2- Too Tired/Stressed
That's because you're not moving or challenging yourself. You have to get up and move to tell your body to make energy. You need to eat right and get all the nutrition that your body needs. If you're convinced that you can't lose weight for this reason, you have it completely backwards. A healthy diet and active lifestyle will increase your energy and your ability to handle stress, as well as improve your mood. It may be hard to start, but your body will adapt. Your breathing and circulation will change, your muscles will strengthen, your nervous system will actually “wake up” and become much more active. This is a reason to lose weight, not a reason not to! Check out another article, "How To Be a Stronger Person Inside and Out" about how all growth requires stress.
#3- Too Old
It is true that you have to eat and exercise differently as you age. It is not true that you have to be overweight. Older populations especially benefit from the guidance of a personal trainer. They can teach you how to perform exercises to minimize injury and actually protect you from future injury. You will have to work harder than you did when you were younger, but you can do this! Look back at all you've overcome to get where you are now. Life made you strong! Losing those extra pounds will greatly improve your quality of life, health and longevity. Now is the perfect time to change! If not for you, then for your children and grandchildren.
#4- My whole family is obese, it's genetic
Some of your metabolism is determined by genetics, but you can make any metabolism work for you by changing your habits. Most of your family's obesity problem is more likely due to shared habits. You probably learned your unhealthy eating and inactive lifestyle from them. Be the first to change and show them it can be done. Be an example. Don't pass this disease any further! Break the circle!
Never self-diagnose. Don't decide you have a genetic disorder keeping you from losing weight without being tested by a doctor. Talk to your doctor, they can help you, even if it is genetic.
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I personally recommend these books. Both of these authors changed how I live and I often reference them in my writing
#5- I have a slow metabolism
Have you been overweight your entire life? Have you tried dieting before and felt like if you did make any progress, it didn't last? First of all, dieting doesn't work. You need to look at what you're already doing and change one small thing at a time. There is no single answer that works for everyone. You may or may not get lucky at the “diet lottery” and find one that does something for you, but there are definite ways to change your life now and forever. For nearly all people, weight gain is behavioral not medical. Metabolic syndrome is rare and unless your doctor has said that you definitely have it, you shouldn't be self-diagnosing. You have YOUR metabolism, just learn how to use it. Check out another article, "Top 5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight" which cuts through all of the fluff that's out there about dieting, and boils it all down to 5 basic truths that all experts can agree upon.
#6- I have an injury/medical condition
Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and that you should only do physical activity prescribed by your doctor? Do you have pain in your chest when exercising? Do you feel dizzy or faint when on your feet? Have you ever lost consciousness during exercise? Do you have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by physical activity? Are you pregnant? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is especially important to discuss exercise with your doctor, and not just give up. You may be able to do any activity you wish, as long as you start slow and increase gradually, or you may be advised to avoid certain exercises. Unless you are confined to your bed, it is very unlikely your doctor will advise that you do no exercise at all. If you're using asthma as an excuse (as I did for many years) you're fooling yourself. You will breathe better without the extra weight. Just talk to your doctor and use your inhaler before working out.
#7- Too much temptation
For many years, I worked in fast food and used this excuse. You're handling food all day, looking at it, smelling it, and talking about it. Sure, it is extremely tempting. I got over it and started bringing my own food whenever possible, or made healthier versions of things that weren't on the menu. Sip on cold water all day and have a high protein snack before you go into a high temptation zone like that to control your hunger. It's a struggle, but its not a reason not to try. And if your temptation is avoidable, consider making that change for your health.
#8- I've failed before
So? I had to quit smoking 7 times before I finally stuck to it. Practice makes perfect. What did you learn each time you tried? What did work and what didn't work? Were you doing things that were relevant to you, or just following someone else's generic directions? Read about SMART goals.
Quick Excuse Guide (article continued below)
This is important to me. I want this. I have time if I want it.
Too Tired or Stressed
Losing weight, exercising and eating right are the best way to change that. I will feel a literal weight being taken off my shoulders and I will have energy again.
I am only as old as I feel. My experience has made me strong. I am capable of anything I set my mind to.
I may have learned these behaviors from my family but I can learn new, healthier, behaviors and be an example for my parents, siblings, children and grandchildren
I am not on my death bed. I will talk to my doctor about my condition and ask what types of exercise are recommended. Proper exercise will improve my health and protect me from injury
Too Much Temptation
I am able to control myself. I will avoid what I can avoid and reach out for support with overcoming what I cannot avoid
I've Failed Before
I am proud to have tried and learned and will continue with the same drive and the empowerment of new knowledge
#9- I don't like or can't afford the foods I will have to eat
Your taste buds change throughout your life. You probably don't like the same things you liked as a kid. At some point, you probably went without a certain food and then came back to it and insisted it wasn't the same as it used to be. Actually, you weren't the same as you used to be. You can gradually change what you like. Your grocery bill doesn't have to change dramatically either. The best tip is to shop the outside perimeter of your grocery store and buy unpackaged foods from the produce and deli departments. These foods won't have the preservatives and you aren't paying for multimillion dollar ad campaigns. Most of these foods won't even have a brand name. Also, shop in season and shop what grows locally. The harder it is to get to your store, the more its going to cost. And if you have to budget a little bit extra, aren't you worth it?
#10- I can't change because of how my spouse/family/roommate eats
Try saying this to them once. They'll probably set you straight. If they're reinforcing this, maybe its time to move. Have you ever even asked if they would be on board? They might want to be healthier too and are using the same excuse without you knowing. If you talk about it, you can probably get their support.
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Some Realities That May Be Holding You Back
#1- Not Planning
Just saying “I'm going to lose weight,” or “I'm going to eat healthy,” doesn't mean you will. You need a map to get where you're going. Start by using SMART goals. How much weight do you want to lose? Is this an immediate goal, or a long-term goal? Is there a smaller goal that you can realistically visualize achieving? What steps will lead you to that goal?
Do you keep pushing aside your workout time for other things? Control the things that you can control, and accept and plan around the things that you can't control. For some people, having a vague and flexible time frame for doing things works better, and others do better with things planned to the minute. You may also need to decide how important this is to you and adjust your priorities.
#2- Trying to do too much at once
It's great that you're reaching for the stars, but you have to learn to walk before you can run. A 10% weight reduction is enough to improve your health. Start there. Celebrate when you get there and then set a new goal. Don't try to go from sitting in front of your computer all day to running a 5k next week. It takes time. And don't try to adopt a completely foreign lifestyle overnight. Imagine that you've never studied Algebra before in your life and suddenly you're enrolled in Calculus! You can't learn this stuff! You're going to be lost and feel like a failure. The stronger you are with the basics, the more that you can build on those skills. Again, it's going to take time. This is about changing the rest of your life, not just about changing today. Check out another article, "Top 5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight" which takes all of the weight loss information that's out there and boils it down to 5 easy to use and understand basics that experts stand by generation after generation.
#3- Unrealistic Goals
Is the weight you're aiming for, or the date you want to lose it by, even healthy? Find out what you should weigh. Are you assuming that you won't have any obstacles along the way? Are you aiming for a certain “look” that you saw in a magazine or on tv? (You know they airbrush them, right?) One mistake I see a lot, is setting a goal to get a certain reaction from someone. Maybe they love you for who you are and it doesn't mean that much to them. That's a good thing! It's fine to be motivated by compliments, but don't let it be the only reason to lose weight.
#4- Do you really want to “lose weight” or just to weigh less?
If you just want to weigh less, you're still in the contemplation stage of change. You aren't ready. When you are, you will want to go through the process of losing weight- the work, the sweat, the struggle. You will want to be healthy and be willing to bust your hump for it. You need to decide what really want before you'll be ready.
#5- Lack of support
Surround yourself with people who want you to have everything you want for yourself. Keep negative people at arm's length. Know who you can turn to for motivation. Add to this support system and build a strong bond with each person who is part of it. It's usually not hard to recruit people into your support circle. Most people will want to help you if you ask for it. Having a workout buddy will help you stay motivated and stick to your routine. They will probably call you out when you start using excuses too.
Quick Guide to Reality Solutions
Learn about fitness and nutrition. Get a planner and write down your weight loss plan and your SMART goal. If its not on paper, its less likely to happen.
Attempting too much at once
Break your goal down into smaller goals and celebrate for each achievement. Don't set your focus on more than 10% of your current weight at a time. Push yourself in your workouts, but don't hurt yourself, and just try to do a little more every time.
Find out what is reasonable and healthy
Want to be Skinny but Don't Really Want to Lose Weight
Find your passion. Losing weight should be exciting. If you hate running but you love playing tennis- play the bageebus out of some tennis!
Lack of Support
Tell people who love you about your plan and ask for their support. Always reach out to meet more people- you can't overdose on positivity
Changing your mind about weight loss is the first step in losing weight. Challenge your long held beliefs about your weight, and break the habits you've reinforced your whole life. People who are busier, more stressed, older, more overweight, with slower metabolisms, more health problems, who have failed more often than you have, with lower incomes, and more temptation surrounding them, succeed at getting healthy every day! You can too!
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