I’ve slightly edited and published the full excuse-busting series as a single article, so now you have absolutely no reason not to tackle those excuses!
It’s at How to stop making excuses and start making changes and I’ve also linked to it from the Articles page.
We all recognise that losing weight will involve some changes to the way we eat, but some people have strong associations between dieting and deprivation. Those who’re used to hearty meals (and who have the figure to match!) are often reluctant to “go on a diet” because they think it will mean living on salad: “I can’t lose weight because I’ll be hungry all the time.”
In fact, a healthy, sustainable diet should definitely not have you ready to gnaw your own arm off in hunger. The best way to lose weight is to cut back by 500-1000 calories a day, allowing you to lose 1-2lbs per week. The first few days may be harder as your body adjusts to less food, but you should only be feeling rather peckish before mealtimes, rather than suffering hours of hunger.
Keep a food diary for a week and look for any obvious ways to reduce calories without unhealthy diet practices (such as skipping meals, or surviving on a single apple for lunch – you’ll be trading short-term gains for long-term yo-yo dieting.) This means cutting out foods which don’t fill you up and which “cost” a lot of calories.
Easy targets to zap from your diet are things like:
There are plenty of things which are filling and “cheap” on calories. Some of my favourites are:
This is the last post in the excuse-busting series. You’re out of reasons not to make those health-improving lifestyle changes that you’ve been putting off – good luck!
(Photo above by mdavidford)
A lot of us have very negative memories from our school-days; communal changing rooms, nasty comments, bullying, unflattering kit … it’s hardly surprising that some of us have the excuse “I hate exercise and always have done.” I spent my late teens being as inactive as possible because I’d hated the compulsory games sessions so much when I was younger.
But I now cycle seven miles a day and go to the gym most lunchtimes, and many other people who start out exercising to lose weight find they really miss it when they have a few inactive days.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean a five mile run. You could go for a gentle walk locally (it counts even if it’s just to the shops and back), or a longer ramble in the countryside.
If you’re very out of shape, swimming is a great option. Go to the pool at quiet times, or for adult-only sessions if you’re not confident about your body (there’s nothing worse than having to run the gauntlet of shrieking kids from the changing room to the pool). Once you’re in the water, no-one will be able to see what shape you are! Also, swimming is great if you have joint problems that impact-based exercise (such as jogging) might exacerbate.
Try thinking of activity rather than exercise. There might be some things you already enjoy which you could do more of:
Or there might be some more adventurous things which you’d love to have a go at. It’s not just kids who are allowed to have fun! Can you join a local trampolining club? Or take up a sport such as fencing or boxing; look out for beginners’ classes at bigger leisure centres. You just might find a whole new hobby…
(Photo above by Andy Field (Hubmedia))
I was a horribly picky eater as a child and teenager, and – for a very long time – my excuse was “I can’t eat a healthy diet because I don’t like fruits and vegetables and ‘healthy’ food.” My parents are probably still surprised that I voluntarily eat (and avidly enjoy!) carrots. So if you are a self-confessed picky eater, I’ve got a few tips:
Challenge yourself to try one new food this weekend, either something you think you “don’t like” (prepare it differently) or something you’ve not ever eaten before.
Especially if you have several stone to lose, the journey to your goal weight can be daunting for many reasons – and “I can’t lose weight because I’ll have to buy new clothes” is often an unvoiced one. You’ll either be slopping around in clothes several sizes too big while you’re losing weight, or you’ll need to constantly fork out for new outfits. Even if treating yourself to a whole new wardrobe is your idea of heaven, it’s likely to leave a sizable dent in your bank account.
(Image by Square_Eye)
This is an especially popular excuse: “I can’t exercise because I don’t have any time.” We all lead hectic lives with little “me-time” and we couldn’t spend hours each day in the gym even if we wanted to. We have significant others and families to spend time with, jobs which require long hours and lengthy commutes, as well as other commitments in the evenings and at weekends.
But it is absolutely vital that you find some time, even if it’s only a few minutes, to squeeze some exercise into your daily routine. You’ll not only get fitter, it will do wonders for those ever-soaring stress-levels, and will make losing weight much easier.
So, how do you find an extra half-hour in every twenty-four that you won’t miss?
If you possibly can, build exercise into your daily commute. Especially if it takes you longer than the national average (which has risen sharply in the past five years, from 35 minutes to 1 hour and 5 minutes). This is valuable time that you can spend more enjoyably than crammed onto sweaty public transport, or stuck in crawling lanes of traffic.
Sometimes it’s tricky to find a half-hour chunk of time when you can exercise. How about doing three ten-minute sessions instead?
It might not seem like a lot, but over the course of a week, you could burn over 1,100 calories – equivalent to a whole day’s food allowance for some dieters – just by doing the above exercises every day (figures based on an 11 stone woman)
|Brisk walk||10 mins||46|
This comes to:
So what’re you waiting for? Get up now, and do something active, for just five minutes. And make sure you find half-an hour every day (either on your commute or in a spare ten minutes snatched here and there) to fit in exercise without it filling up your precious free time.