Be honest with yourself. Take a look in the mirror and reconsider the words and phrases coming out of our mouth and the thinking coming out of your head. We know why people make excuses – but at the same time, a good coach is not going to let you stay where you are if it’s affecting your quality of life and if you want to move forward. Quality of life is the important thing. Not just getting healthier because it’s the “right thing to do”, but because it affects your quality of life.
There’s a lot of confusion on who to trust, what’s fact and what’s dogma, and that can lead to a lot of excuses, but the real key to making progress in any place is to be honest with yourself before you can ever move forward. Excuses are what hold people back for the most part. Yes, there are legitimate obstacles and at times you might need to focus on different things, but what we often see in many people who want to get healthier are excuses.
1. “I don’t have time”/”I’m too busy”
This is a legitimate excuse, but it’s not an excuse for not taking any action at all. We do need resources to invest in our health, and being busy drains those resources, but it comes down to priorities. If we recognize we need to take control of our health, we usually won’t be “too busy” if we get our priorities in line and know how to make our time work for us. This might mean auditing our time and lifestyle for things that are detracting from our quality of life. It’s fine if you want to prioritize other things – you don’t owe your health to anyone – but don’t deny that it’s not a priority if it isn’t.
At the same time, it doesn’t take as much time to be healthy as a lot of people think it does. You can grab a healthy breakfast in less than 5 minutes by following some simple steps beforehand. You don’t have to spend forever in the kitchen prepping. You don’t even have to spend an hour in the gym, yes that’s what we might want, but you can get good movement in 10 minutes.
2. “I don’t have support”
“My spouse (or significant other) doesn’t like healthy foods, so I don’t have them in the house.”
Just because your spouse doesn’t care about eating well, doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t either. I wish everyone agreed on things, especially family, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
Of course you don’t want to cook separate food for every person in the house; but you can make changes to the meal that would make everyone happy. Serve a veggie and a salad, and if your significant other doesn’t want any, they can skip it.
It might be helpful to create meals that have a common element that you will both enjoy and then build out from there. Maybe a sweet potato is the common food. You might have to opt for two separate proteins but then offer a vegetable or salad and your spouse can choose to eat it or not. Eventually, a few new foods might make their way onto their plate. You can use the “crowding out” technique where you slowly introduce new food options and then slowly crowd out the unhealthier ones.
Remember, you can’t force people to be on the same page as you. You have to focus on things you can control and that are in your sphere of influence. The more you point fingers at things external to you, the more disempowered and stuck you will feel and be. Take control of what you can control. You have access to support; you just maybe haven’t accessed or committed to it yet.
3. “It’s too expensive”
A healthy diet can save you a lot of money down the road and even now, but eating healthy does require you to be aware.
Beyond the standard “cooking your own food versus going out every night”, or “choosing food in season” advice, examine your lifestyle and your budget and take a good, hard look at where you’re spending your money. Diet isn’t separate from lifestyle. They are completely interconnected. Don’t worry about getting the fancy foods. Keep it simple – even if it means less variety.
4. “I’ll start Monday”/”I’ll start when my kids are in school”/”I’ll start when…”
This mindset delays achieving goals and health. Don’t wait to start. Start in the moment when you’re feeling that kick in the gut. That mindset of waiting to start is common to every yo-yo dieter. Additionally, “starting Monday” also promotes the “last supper” mentality and action of super overconsumption.
Some people can deal with a more restrictive diet in a healthy way and can do so without gong overboard after – they have a very healthy relationship with what they want food to do for them. They can go into a more restrictive plan for athletics without the last supper mentality.
But for those who do have that plan to overindulge right before and have that “last supper”, that’s a red flag to me that they would be better off with little restriction – at least starting off.
5. “I Don’t Know What Advice to Follow.”
We know what a healthy diet looks like – we have the foundations – everything else is preference and individual needs. If you are feeling overwhelmed by which “diet” to follow, take a step back and see how they are all similar. Generally, every healthy and fad diets encourage:
- Eating more vegetables
- Drinking more water
- Preparing foods from home rather than take-out
- Minimal highly-processed food products
- More foods closer to their natural state
We know what to do. Now it’s time to look at why doing it can become difficult and begin working through the challenges that come up that prevent implementation, consistency, and sustainability. That’s where a quality nutrition coach comes into play and differentiates between the “eat this, don’t eat that” kind of thing. That’s also why we decided to create a Foundations challenge – to spend time on building a strong foundation where members can feel less stressed about dieting and become more empowered around their food choices while creating sustainable habits.