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This article is all about uncovering what excuses you might be using to get in shape this year. You might think that you don’t have any excuses – after all – don’t you set “Lose weight” as a New Year’s resolution each year?
Maybe you might not even be aware of the excuses you’re using, but I’m going to outline the four most common excuses that people use for staying unhappy with their health – and yes, it sounds harsh, but staying fat and unhappy.
The excuses you use become your reality, so if you are constantly repeating your excuses to yourself and anyone else who will listen, then you will stay exactly where you are.
A survey on Twitter and Facebook asking for the best excuses came out with these top four, and I’m going to show you how to overcome them.
Excuse #1: “It’s too cold”
A favourite excuse in winter or if you live in a cold country. In fact, in winter this is a commonly used excuse for everything – why you can’t get up in the morning, why you eat bad comfort food, why you are unhappy and why you are fat.
You have two options: either to move country, or find ways to get over this excuse and be true to your best health no matter what the weather.
Cold weather can be depressing and it can also make you want to curl up like a hedgehog and hibernate until summer comes around again. You don’t feel like going to the gym, let alone taking your clothes off! It may also trigger cravings for warm comfort carbs like pizza or pasta to give your tummy a warm feeling.
Have you ever used this excuse? Here are my hot tips for when the temperature is chilly:
Try Bikram or Hot Power yoga, both are a fabulous way to get warm and you’ll get fit and flexible at the same time. Bikram yoga also works wonders on cellulite! Get to the sauna. It may not be exercise, but it’s great for getting rid of toxins through your sweat and it will make you feel great and help you sleep better as well. Get some simple equipment to exercise at home, like some hand weights or a mini trampoline which is a god-send if you want to exercise can’t face leaving the house to go to the gym. Add in some warming spices to your food and juices – ginger, paprika, chillies, cinnamon to warm you from the inside. If you can’t face salad in winter, then try some steamed veggies or a baked potato or sweet potato, it will satisfy you more than stodgy pasta or pizza. If you feel yourself suffering from winter depression or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), consider getting a sun lamp or sun clock to wake you in the morning.
Excuse #2: “It’s too hot”
Some people, depending on where you live, have this problem all the time. At first you’d think – what a great problem to have, but actually humid hot days make you just want to lie around under a ceiling fan and not move.
Heat can make you feel sluggish and lazy, and you may have a craving for cold treats like soda soft drinks, or ice-cream. The good news is that light salads are perfect for hot weather.
Go for a nice walk either morning or afternoon (especially if you have long light summer nights) when it’s cooler. Particularly if you have a beach (lucky you!) or park to explore. Really experiment with making your salads fun and interesting, using a lot of herbs and different colours to make them exciting and tasty. Put lots of ice in your raw fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies. Make cold raw treats, like dairy-free ice-cream or dairy-free gelato to cool you off. Borrow a neighbour’s dog and go to the park to enjoy the late afternoon cooler air. Don’t forget to take a ball! Remind yourself of the lovely air-conditioning at the gym, or visit the local pool to cool off and get some exercise at the same time.
Excuse #3: “I don’t have the time”
Probably the most common excuse ever invented for not getting fit and healthy. The pace of life is crazy enough without having to go to the gym. Instead of working with our bodies all day like our ancestors, there’s work to deal with (mostly sitting at a desk), family to take care of, friends to see, hobbies, commuting to and from work, and all the other parts of modern life – who has time to exercise?
Often following this excuse is the lie to yourself – “I’ll do it tomorrow” and we’ve all been guilty of this self deception. You’ll know from experience but it’s pretty hard to get an amazing body if you eat junk food and don’t exercise (unless you’re Kate Moss and then we all hate you!).
So, what do you do if you genuinely are pressed for time?
Fitness experts suggest doing very intense exercise for just a couple of minutes, like running flat out or skipping rope, rather than hours of the gym. This philosophy appeals to most of us because, let’s face it, we like to get big results for very little effort!
That’s why rebounding on a mini trampoline is very efficient form of exercise, recommended even by NASA as apparently the g-force of the motion works every part of your body! Genius! If you haven’t tried rebounding, then try it the next time you’re at the gym before you commit to buying one for yourself.
Another way to buy yourself some time – turn off the TV – better yet, give it away as some people are doing. Time flies in front of the “idiot box” and your evenings and weekends will feel much more spacious. Unplug it at the wall, so you have to make an effort just to watch it randomly and maybe then you won’t bother.
If you are going to watch TV, then maybe in the ad breaks, you could do some quick exercise, like doing some tricep dips or sit-ups. Most of the ads are for junk food anyway, so it’s best if you don’t watch them! It’s also been proven that people eat much more in front of the television because they aren’t really aware of what they are putting in their mouths!
Excuse #4: “I’m too tired”
We’ve all been there. Coming home from a big day at work, a miserable commute and then household or family chores to do – sometimes the last thing on your mind is exercising. And maybe you can’t be bothered to cook so you order in a big greasy take-away.
Being tired looks like a great excuse on paper, until you realise that taking the time to exercise and eat healthy food actually gives you more energy and becomes a virtuous circle. Being tired, not moving your body and eating junk food leads to more feeling tired and more junk food – a terrible vicious circle.
An easy and free way to being less tired is to get more sleep. Here are a few of the tips I suggest to ensure you are rested at night.
Cut back on caffeine, energy drinks or sugary desserts late at night. Oprah does the “no food after 6pm” rule – not even a grape she says. Heavy cooked meals late at night will keep you up with indigestion. A bigger quilt or duvet so you don’t wake up during the night wrestling it from your loved one. Do you need a bedroom makeover? Maybe new sheets for the bed, decluttering your room or taking out distracting electronic gadgets.
What are YOUR excuses?
We all have our own favourite excuses why we aren’t taking care of ourselves enough, but it’s time to come clean and decide that no excuse will come between you and that dream body.
As an exercise, write down your top reasons why you aren’t as healthy as you could be. Come up with as many as you want and see if yours match these common ones. You might also have “I’ll do it tomorrow”, “I’m too lazy” or “I’m sick!”
In your journal, write down your top 3 reasons, and then write down 1-2 actions under each one to make that excuse much easier for you to overcome.
Most of the reasons are just hollow excuses but they give us permission to live unsatisfied with our health but feeling powerless to do anything about it. Having a plan to deal with those excuses will make you feel like you can make a baby step towards good health.
Uncover your excuses and you’ll see what little power they really hold over you.
write by Jon Brecht