With obesity on the raise as a nation, we need to change our attitudes. Every other commercial is for the latest diet food, diet pill, butt toning shoe, or dream equipment, but clearly they are not working. What needs to change is how we view food, exercise, and our own personal goals. Here are some ways to get out of your head and into the gym.
1. I am built this way. or I have bad genes.
Get over it. No doubt we are all not built to look like a cover model, but we are also not designed to look like Pillsbury dough either. Making excuses to stay overweight is not only bad for your health; it is bad for your self-image. All genetics are not absolute. We should view our genes as building blocks, and focus on being a better version of ourselves. Again, that does not mean aiming to be a size two. It means finding a healthy weight for your body and being active.
2. I go to the gym, so I am doing well.
Nope. We have all seen the girl on her cell phone talking to her BFF and walking at the speed of barely on the treadmill. If you are not pushing yourself then what is the point? You do not have to work out at a level that would hurt you, but you should be sweating. If you are comfortable; you are doing it wrong. Don’t waste your hour going through the motions. Just because you are wearing gym clothes and have a membership does not mean you are going to see results. Yes, half the battle is getting there, and the other half is making yourself work during your workout.
Do workouts that challenge you in fun ways. When I started running, it was so I could finish a 5k. Now I run a 5k to beat my last time. Change your goals as you get better. If it is too easy, it is up to you to make it a challenge. By not increasing your weight, distance, or time you are only cheating yourself.
3. I don’t have time to work out.
Make time. That excuse makes me shake my head. I have a child, and a military husband, so save that excuse on me. Oh, and save it on yourself. Making time to exercise and to cook healthy food is not optional. Exercise helps not only maintain a healthy weight, but helps with stress. During some of my worst times my Dad always offered to buy me running shoes. His favorite saying was “When the demons start calling, strap on your running shoes.” Make time for your health now, but you will pay later.
4. My friends don’t affect my diet.
Dad always said, “Birds of a feather flock together.” As a teenager I hated this saying, but like many things our parents said, it is true. No, all your friends do not have to be superstar health nuts, but make sure you are not surrounding yourself with sabotaging friends. It may sound paranoid or even snobby, but people get jealous. Do not let someone else’s insecurity about their own weight and fitness level have a negative impact.
If you are eating right and have a recommended BMI do not listen to nay-sayers. ”You look too skinny” is a favorite. There is a big difference between eating disorders and healthy body types. Use your doctors guidelines; not your friend that is green with envy. Also avoid diet downers. For example “I don’t know how you eat that.” Never be ashamed to make a healthy choice.
5. I don’t know how to eat right. If I had a personal chef I would be skinny.
No, no, no, and NO. This is the information age people. After you learn how to get on facebook that excuse ended. There are websites devoted to nutrition information. The FDA makes sure packaged food has labels, and you need to use them. Only you know what you like, so finding the right grocery list takes time and thought, but it is not impossible. Look for food with substance. If a package says it has a “good source” of something check to see how much it really has. By simply reading labels and doing simple math you would be surprised at what really good foods you are missing out on, and what bad stuff you are putting in your body.
Meats, veggies, and other foods that you find without labels can be found online. There are many very helpful websites with huge food databases. Researching some of your favorite foods can help mold healthier attitudes about what you eat, and what you skip on your next meal. And no matter what your favorite food is, there is always a healthy version.
6. I eat diet food, and never lose weight. Why should I even try?
I can remember when they launched the “fat free” snack cakes and cookies. It was like a dream to people everywhere, but instead of losing weight, America kept on gaining. We all know to avoid french fries, Twinkies, and lard, but carbohydrates made their way in through the backdoor of our diets. “Fat free” made us think we too would be, well, fat free. However, it was not until we ate our “fat free” snack cakes with abandon that we realized that this was not helping our cause. As a result for the last two decades we have had a love/hate relationship with the carbohydrate.
It is not just that they are often low fat that we think we are doing well, but they taste great. However, empty carbs are making us fatter than ever. It lacks vitamins and does not offer a high fiber content (I do not care if it has negative fat grams) SKIP IT.
7. I cannot diet.
Diet has become an ugly word owned by extremist, who write books promising the world if you never eat certain things again, you’ll lose weight. That is not what it is about. It is about making exchanges that you can live with. Though fad diets seem to work, they are not based in reality. If you manage to lose the weight doing something that makes you miserable you are not going to stick with it. Try reading labels instead and reducing portions little by little. Healthy weight loss does not happen overnight, and if done right can take up to a year or so depending on where you are starting at, but can last long into the future.
8. I am working to get into a size two.
Unless you are 5’1,” get a grip; setting goals that are not based in reality end in burn out—I know, I have been there. We are our own worst critic, and we do NOT need help from the fashion world, but we get it anyway. Set goals that you can achieve, and then work from there. Also, don’t just set goals based on your weight, set goals about how far you are going to run next time, or how much faster. A lot of times signing up for local sporting events can prompt us to push harder and helps us lose focus on just the scale. We have to stop looking to unrealistic ideals set forth by the media.
I had overcome all of these excuses more than once. The miracle is in the work you put in. Often times the hardest part is in the beginning. Believe in your power to change.