Too poor, too busy, too sad, too happy ... we come up with all sorts of reasons for ditching diets, or for not even starting in the first place. However, most of our excuses really don't cut it. Here are the top 10 worst excuses, and the reasons why they should be dismissed.
Dieting is too expensive
Many people claim they can't afford to eat more healthily. However, healthy eating can be just as budget-friendly as junk food. Swapping your chocolate bar or packet of crisps for an apple actually saves you money.
To lose weight on the cheap, start by reducing portion sizes and swapping unhealthy snacks for fresh fruit or vegetables. Stocking up on dried legumes for protein, buying in bulk and freezing leftovers are also good ways to keep costs down.
I'm too busy to go on a diet
Most of us lead busy lives, juggling work and family commitments and hectic social lives. This is no excuse to ditch the diet. Remember, fruit and nuts are just as easy to eat on the go as crisps, and a healthy salad can be whipped up in the same time it takes to read a takeaway menu and place your order.
Furthermore, so long as you follow a healthy, balanced eating plan - rather than an overly restrictive, faddy diet - your diet should help to keep you energised and fuelled for your busy day.
I've had a bad day
Your boss is piling on the work, you've had a bust-up with your best friend and you missed the bus home ... but a bar of chocolate would surely make it all feel better? Sadly not.
Although you may think a tasty treat will compensate for a bad day, most likely it will only make you feel guilty and bloated.
If you know you're an emotional eater, it's important to find a healthier way to deal with your feelings - such as exercising, chatting with a friend, or watching your favourite movie - to help you resist unhealthy cravings next time you feel down or stressed.
I deserve a treat
The opposite of an emotional eater who reaches for food in times of trouble, a celebratory eater will excuse their junk-food-bingeing by reasoning that they deserve the treat as a reward for their workout session, performance in work or successful weight loss that week.
Yes, you do deserve a treat; what you do not deserve is to punish your poor body by plying it with junk and empty kilojoules. Rather than celebrating with cake or wine, be kind to yourself with a massage or pampering session instead.
Blaming our body shape on genetics is a good way to dismiss responsibility for it. After all, why bother starting a diet or exercise plan when it's in your genes to have a big bum or muffin top? The truth is, although your genes determine where and how easily fat is stored, you are not powerless to shift those kilos.
Research suggests regular exercise outweighs the effects of "fat genes". So, you can still combat genes and bad habits with a healthy eating and exercise plan.
Diets don't work for me
One of the most common (and flimsiest) excuses, is that "diets just don't work for me". Well, of course not, if that's your attitude!
Maybe diets leave you "feeling weak", perhaps you "don't have the self-discipline" to stick to them, or maybe you have never achieved significant results. Most likely, your approach to dieting is all wrong. Sampling every faddy diet that comes around is unlikely to achieve long-lasting results or leave you feeling great. Instead, kick fad diets to the kerb, adopt a sensible, healthy approach to eating and give it a proper go before you assess its effectiveness.
I've got a slow metabolism
Many people believe they are unable to lose weight because of sluggish metabolism.
However, if you have a genuinely slow metabolism, the last thing your body needs is to be plied with excessive amounts of kilojoules to burn off.
Your metabolic rate is not set in stone, and regular exercise and muscle growth actually can increase the rate at which your body burns kilojoules. Furthermore, the more weight you need to lose, the more easily your body will burn it off.
I'll start my diet tomorrow
This is the biggie; the most popular excuse for every neglected resolution known to man. However, if every time you slip up you put your plans back another day, you are never going to get started. Rather than putting off your diet until after a big event, such as Christmas or a holiday, start putting in the work now so by the time your event arrives you can afford to lapse a little. Also, remember that a little wobble doesn't need to mean the end of your diet, so don't write off the entire day just because you succumbed to the temptation of a mid-morning slice of cake. Just carry on.
I love food too much
Do you love food too much to give any of it up? Does dieting make you utterly miserable?
Well, it could be that you are just not doing it right. Dieting doesn't have to be boring. With a bit of careful management you can still eat all of your favourite foods. Rather than completely cutting out treats, try following the 80/20 rule; eating healthily 80 per cent of the time and being less strict for the other 20 per cent. Also, remember there's an abundance of healthy food out there, so shop around for some that you actually enjoy eating - you may be surprised by what you find.
I don't want to look like a stick insect
With the modern celebration of "real, curvy women", many women use the excuse of wanting to hold on to their curves as a reason for not losing weight.
After all, men like women with a bit of meat on their bones, right? Yes, but they also like them healthy and well. While having natural curves and a healthy level of body confidence is both admirable and healthy, it is important to to stay within a healthy weight range.
Nobody wants you to look like a stick insect, but it is unlikely that following a healthy, balanced diet and sensible exercise regime will ever result in this.
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