I used to be the queen of excuses when it came to weight loss.
“I’m big boned." I’d say. “Just look at my rib cage. I’m thick."
I remember uttering those exact words to a friend in the midst of my yo-yo dieting cycle of hell and fat talk era.
It’s true, I am not petite by any means, but that didn’t really account for the extra 30 pounds I was carrying around, and then the 20 more I gained.
At that time I needed to latch onto an excuse. It was easier than changing my bad habits and admitting the truth: I ate too much and I moved too little.
Now, I’m not saying that is necessarily true for others who aren’t svelte according to society’s standards. Lord knows there is a gradient of healthy body sizes, all of which we do not see in traditional media on a regular basis. Beauty has been defined for us as tall, slender, cellulite-free and pretty much underweight.
That image of the “perfect" female form is an illusion, and I think we all know it, yet it’s what drives so many of us to continue the yo-yo dieting cycle of hell.
Now, if we throw the image of the “perfect" body out of our minds and stop the pursuit of a particular body shape (and even to some extent a specific number on the scale), what is stopping us from eating a bit consciously and moving a little more?
I’m convinced that feeling bad about our bodies is on top of the list of things that keep us from losing weight. It’s the root factor that drives people to look for other excuses not to be a bit more responsible with their food choices and take an active role in their overall health.
The following are 10 excuses I have used (or have heard others use) to explain why weight loss is impossible when really, I think, it comes down to a bad body image.
10. Eating healthy is too expensive. I don’t buy it (pun intended). Sure, eating organic can cost you an arm and a leg, but there are many other choices. It may be the harder choice to skip the fast-food dollar menu but as a good friend of mine said on Facebook recently …
1. Two bananas
2. Six eggs
3. 1/2 pound brown rice
4. An avocado
5. 1 pound dry black beans
6. An apple
7. A bag of frozen vegetables
All are either under or around a dollar.
There are other options than the dollar menu at fast food restaurants.
And if you really, REALLY want the fast food, there is nothing stopping you from making a better choice there as well. I once wrote a post about how to eat cheap and light at McDonald’s. It is possible. I do it all the time.
9. I don’t have any time. No one has time. No one. We all work, have families and homes to clean. We all only get 24 hours a day. We all make time for the things that are important to us. I wrote a post last year about this. Instead of saying “I don’t have time to eat healthy” say “eating healthy is not my priority” and see how that sits with you.
8. It’s too hard. Yes it is hard. I’m not going to lie. So are things like going to school and working and raising kids. Life is hard. I woke up at 5:25 this morning so I can get to the gym because it was the only time I had today. I have chicken legs cooking in the Crock Pot right now because I know I won’t have time to make dinner before the 8-year-old’s Scout meeting. Would it have been easier to skip the gym and hit a drive-through on our way there? I guess, but I’ve made it a priority to work out and cook more meals at home –see No. 9 above.
7. If I just look at a brownie I gain 5 pounds. This is one of my favorites because I’ve used it hundreds of times. The truth is I had no self control around brownies because I was stuck in a cycle of deprivation and binging. I had to learn that the brownie (or whatever) had no power over me. I’m not cursed with some miraculously slow metabolism that absorbs calories through my eyeballs. I just had to learn the brownie isn’t worth it. And if it is, then I my next meal should be a little lighter.
6. I don’t know how to start. Yes you do. Just make your next choice a better one. Don’t think today’s going to be your last day eating junk because you’ll be perfect starting tomorrow. There are no “last meals” unless you’re on death row. (Are you on death row? I didn’t think so.) Stop using the “I don’t now how to start” excuse and order a darn salad for lunch.
5. I have no willpower. Again, I don’t buy it. It’s not about willpower. It comes down to a state of mind. I will bet there have been times you had willpower. You said no to that office cookie. You made it to the gym when you didn’t want to go. What was different then? I’m going to bet it was Jan, 1 or the day you decided you were going to start some new diet. You had that motivated state of mind and you can get it back; it just takes some work and confidence. Stop saying you have no willpower and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
4. No one supports me. Let me guess, your spouse eats a lot of junk food. He/she doesn’t want to lose weight. They like being lazy. Welcome to my world. You can’t wait for anyone else to make these kind of changes for yourself. If you aren’t getting the support at home, reach out online. If you don’t like social media, find a group at your gym. There is support out there; you just need to take the first step and find it.
3. I don’t like exercise. Again. Do. Not. Buy. It. Sure, maybe you don’t like the gym — I can understand that. I hated the gym until a few years ago. Maybe you don’t like running. OK, I get it. I wasn’t always a runner either. Here’s the thing: exercise doesn’t mean you HAVE to go to some gym to pick things up and put them down. It doesn’t mean you have to suffer through a step class if it isn’t your thing. It means you MOVE YOUR BODY. I’m guessing you are a human being and therefore your body likes to move. I don’t care what you say — your body craves exercise, all you need to do is find the activities you like. Really have no idea? Start with walking and go from there.
2. I love to eat. Really? ME, TOO! Nice to meet you. Can we be friends? Seriously though, there aren’t too many people I know who don’t like to eat. What do you love to eat and why? I know for me, when I grab a bag of Doritos out of the pantry or order an entire pizza for myself it’s not a love of food driving those decisions.
1. Why bother? I’m just going to gain it back. NOOOO! That’s because you are thinking of this as a diet. IT’S NOT A DIET. Stop thinking that way and continuing the on-plan/off-plan mentality. Make conscious food choices, move a little more and accept the fact that you will probably never look like an airbrushed Victoria’s Secret model. Then whatever weight you do lose will be permanent and you can break out of the yo-yo dieting cycle of hell for good.
Disclaimer: This post isn’t written to shame anyone into losing weight. I’m specifically talking to those who want to and are currently stuck in the yo-yo dieting cycle of hell. I’ve been there. It sucks.