Your New Year resolution to battle the bulge started off with great success, but come March your motivation fades and along with this comes a barrage of reasons why now isn't the time to shift the last 5kg.
The truth is, most excuses don't really cut it, and shouldn't have the power to stop you from reaching your goals.
Here are the top weight loss excuses I hear as an exercise scientist and how to crush them. For good.
"I JUST DON'T HAVE TIME"
Guess what? We all have the same 24 hours, and a 30-minute workout is only 2 per cent of your day.
Likewise, with preparing healthy meals: if you have time to eat, you have time to prepare. It's just a matter of having healthy food on hand.
If you think you don't have time, I encourage you to take stock of what you are currently doing to see if this is really true. Do you spend a few hours in front of the TV or browsing your phone? Do you take the train or bus home when you could walk all or part of the way? What are you doing while your kids play sport?
All of these are opportunities for planning or preparing healthy meals, or moving more. Consistency is key for weight loss, so work out what you can commit to, and schedule it in.
"I'M TOO TIRED"
It's hard to eat well and exercise consistently when you feel like a zombie. Countless studies indicate that lack of sleep can mess with hunger and hormones, making you reach for brownies instead of berries.
If you consistently wake up feeling groggy or toss and turn during the night, make good sleep hygiene a priority. Turn off your phone, computer, and the TV at least an hour before bed as the blue light emitted from these devices messes with melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall and stay asleep.
If this still doesn't help, seek advice from your GP, as you may be suffering from more severe issues like sleep apnoea.
"I LOSE ALL CONTROL AT NIGHT"
Willpower is a like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. However, crazy fad diets can easily weaken your resolve, even with those with the best of intentions. Why? Because they're just not sustainable.
If you're ravenously hungry in the PM, chances are your current meal plan isn't quite right. Ditching carbohydrates in particular can lead to intense sugar cravings because your body is searching for sustenance.
During the day you might be able to distract yourself with work, and family life, but come nightfall you crumble and reach for that emergency chocolate bar.
Which brings me to my next point - remove temptation but don't completely deprive yourself. Plan your indulgences like a glass of wine or dessert once a week, but don't keep sugary treats at arm's reach as you'll most likely end up eating them.
"I'VE FAILED SO MANY TIMES BEFORE"
If you haven't achieved the results you wanted before, it can be hard to be optimistic about your efforts the next time around. Instead of adopting a defeatist attitude, use your previous experiences as a learning opportunity.
Take what worked, like drinking lots of water, and leave behind what didn't to form a more manageable approach.
Also define what success really looks like to you. Remove the focus from your weight and the scales by creating goals that highlight the improvement in your mental wellbeing, energy, or strength.