When it comes down to weight loss goals, we can whip out a page of excuses longer than our weekend to-do list. Every person out here has a valid reason why now is just not a good time to change our lives, our eating habits, and our weight.
Some excuses are just artificial, not all. As soon as one is removed, another one takes its place. And the cycle repeats. Whereas obstacles have solutions that can resolve the problem. The key is finding the solution that is sustainable. Otherwise, you will not stick to it for the long haul. With that in mind, here are some excuse busters from the experts. These are solid, simple to follow solutions that will dismantle your defenses and eradicate the excuses.
"Diets Won't Work for Me"
That is completely true, and not just for you. It’s true for everyone. Research proves that only a small percentage of weight loss and diet programs are maintained over the long-term. "That's why you have to focus on lifestyle change," says Howard J. Rankin, Ph.D., author of 7 Steps to Wellness.
Integrate physical activity and healthy eating into your everyday life - "Don't view them as something you're going to do until you lose the weight; after which time you'll go back to your 'normal' life," says Dr. Rankin.
Do not view weight loss as something that should be done for you - Even though it would be nice, "this is something you have to want to do for yourself," says Kristi Ferguson, Ph.D., associate professor of community and behavioral health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.
"I Have a Slow Metabolism"
"No matter how low your metabolism is, there is always something you can do to rev it up," says Dr. Rankin. Research is somewhat mixed about the reasoning of why this happens. The debate is tied between “slowing up, eating more, and moving less” versus “hormonal changes that occur naturally”.
Lift weights - Strength exercises build muscle mass, and muscle tissue burns more calories - even at rest.
Eat frequently - High-fiber, low fat meals that includes some protein can keep your body's engine running.
Push past your plateau - As we lose weight, our metabolism really does decrease, which makes it harder for us to lose. "By upping your workout intensity or length, or changing the type of workout you are doing to challenge the body, can give you a boost," says Tammy T. Baker, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
"I Cannot Afford a Gym"
So don’t. Let’s face it. Gyms are loud and distracting, unsanitary at times, and memberships are a bit pricey for some people.
Workout at home - A University of Florida study of 49 women weighting an average of 190 lbs found that those who work out at home lost more weight and did a better job of keeping it off than those who joined a group or exercise program.
Swap - Quite frankly, you can replace the gym’s StairMaster with a bike, its treadmill with a pair of sneakers, and its weight machine with a set of lunges and crunches - followed up by lifting with a full bottle of water in each hand.
"I am Too Busy"
We are not talking a 45-minute run followed by a weight machine circuit. We are talking movement and integrating some form of activity into your daily life. By doing this, you will become so ingrained that you will not even realize you're doing them.
Turn off the TV - Cannot give up the 'boob tube' for exercise? Put a treadmill or a stationary bike in front of it. Or stream a fitness workout program.
Built it up at work - By walking to someone's office to deliver a message instead of spending a couple of minutes at the desk typing an email, you'd lose 1.1lb of fat a year. That's equal to 11 lb over a decade.
Pace while you are on the phone - This is the primary reason for portable phones. "For every 15-minute conversation you should do at least 1/4 mile around the house," says Baker. A quarter mile would be roughly 40 return trips to the end of an average-sized room and back.
"I Cannot Afford Healthy Food"
The closer foods are to their natural form, (like produce) the less expensive they are as compared with prepackaged, processed foods. The more steps that are involved in processing, the higher the costs.
Shop smart - Buy produce while in season. "It stands to reason that strawberries that are shipped from Chile in January are going to cost more than strawberries grown on the farm outside of town in May," says Baker.
Save more than just calories - Eating healthy can pad your wallet. You won't be buying high-calorie fast food or greasy snacks out of vending machines. "Plus, if you are healthy, chances are, you are more productive and you have fewer medical bills," says Dr. Rankin. Not to mention the money saved on antacids and aspirin!
"I Hate Cooking" or "I don't have Time to Cook Healthy Meals"
Good nutrition and cooking do not have to go hand-in-hand; nor does healthy eating means you cannot consider prepared or take out foods as the cornerstone of a healthy diet.
Buy prepared - More than half of us are buying pre-cut vegetables or pre-washed salads for the convenience of it. Go for a takeout of grilled chicken, dump some baby carrots into boiling water and drain. That’s instant vitamin A! Take advantage of meal prep services in your area that specialize in preparing healthy dishes. Most have an introductory offer to draw in customers. The more you order, the more you’ll save!
Try frozen - Frozen vegetables have as many vitamins and minerals as most fresh ones, and sometimes more because they are frozen immediately after harvesting.
Valerie lives in New York. As a health advocate, she shares tips and steps on maximizing nutrition, weight, and fitness goals to help others embrace a healthier lifestyle. She blogs at Halfmile Fitness.