Have you ever made an excuse for why you cannot stick to your healthy intentions? Almost everyone has! Though they made not be as obviously silly as the one in the Lark DPP check-in (“The dog ate my sneakers!”), they can often be overcome. Here are 10 common dieting excuses and ways you can fight back.
I’ll start tomorrow. Or Monday. Or next week. Or after the next birthday party. The problem is that tomorrow never seems to arrive. That can mean the unhealthy eating patterns continue for an extra day, week, month, or even year, while the pounds continue to pack on. Today is a great day to start losing weight!
One bite won’t hurt. That may be true, but one bite often turns into two, and then a full serving, and often an accompaniment or two. Consider a single chip that turns into a handful, along with some dip, and then a soda. Suddenly, that innocently-intended “bite” has become a 600-calorie carb and fat fest!
I’m too hungry. Some foods are more filling than others. In general, protein and fiber are considered filling nutrients because they delay hunger for longer, and water makes foods “bigger” without adding more calories. (For example, 1/4-cup serving of dried grapes - raisins - has 130 calories, while you could eat 5 times that amount - 1 ¼ cups - if you choose grapes instead). Eating more vegetables, fruit, lean proteins, and high-fiber beans and whole grains can be more filling than eating the same number of calories from fatty, sugary, and low-fiber starchy foods.
I deserve a break. Of course you do, especially after a hard day at work or a stressful day managing the kids! What about shopping at the mall, getting a massage, watching a movie, phoning a friend, or reading a book in the backyard? A high-calorie food or beverage is not going to make you feel better for more than a few seconds, and it certainly will not solve any problems.
I already blew it for today. It is never too soon to get back on track. Stopping before eating the second half of the pizza is not at good as avoiding the pizza entirely, but it does save about 1,600 calories, or roughly a half-pound of body fat that you will not need to lose once you get back on track.
Healthy food is too expensive. It does not need to be. Instead of pre-made deli meals and pre-bagged or pre-cut salads and produce, purchasing raw chicken and fish in bulk and opting whole or unsweetened, unsalted frozen produce can save money. Dried beans, peas, and whole grains such as brown rice are inexpensive, and store brands can be less expensive but equal in quality to name brands. Another trick is to buy in bulk and portion your own instead of buying in single-serving packages.
I don’t have time to cook. There are plenty of shortcuts to get healthy meals and snacks without spending much time. If you ever do have time to cook, you can make big batches and freeze them in single-portion containers so a healthy meal is always ready. Using leftovers for lunch also saves time. It takes nearly no time to wash a piece of fruit or some raw vegetables to munch on, to throw raw vegetables and dried beans or lentils into low-sodium broth for a nutritious soup, or to top bagged salad or spinach leaves with tuna, cheese, or tofu plus olive oil and vinegar. Quick healthy meal options are limitless!
Diets do not work for me. The truth is, diets do not work for most people in the long term. Instead, healthy lifestyle changes are best for losing weight and, the tricky part for many people, keeping it off. Small changes that make sense for your lifestyle are best for long term success with losing weight and eating healthier to lower diabetes risk.
It’s too hard to eat healthy with kids around. It is definitely tough when members of your household insist on having junk food around. Your kids may have cookies, crackers, and other snacks in the pantry for their lunches, and your spouse could insist on bringing back leftovers from lunches out during the workday. It can help to dedicate a shelf of the pantry to your kids’ foods, while keeping the rest of the pantry stocked with healthy alternatives. Your spouse might be willing to compromise similarly by keeping high-calorie leftovers in one back corner of the fridge while allowing you to place ready-to-eat healthy foods, such as carrot sticks and hard-boiled eggs, right at the front so you see them first.
John Smith is eating it, and he’s skinny, so I can, too. John Smith could have any number of health conditions, regardless of whether he is skinny. Keep in mind, too, that you do not know what else he eats (does he eat like that 10 times a day or is that all he eats in a day, or is this a once-a-year treat or is it something he eats every day) or how much he exercises (is he a distance runner who runs 10 miles a day before the sun comes up, or is he does he have a sedentary lifestyle?). Finally, and most important, you are not John Smith. What John Smith eats really does not matter for your health or weight.
I don’t have time to log my food. Logging food can be cumbersome, but it has been shown to increase your chances of losing weight and keeping it off. Logging with Lark is easy, plus it gives you more bang for your logging buck with instant personalized feedback and daily summaries to keep you motivated and aware.
It is easy for excuses to come to mind, but rest assured you are not the only one fighting diet excuses. With some reasoning, along with good intentions and practice, you can fight back against the excuses and stay right on track to lose weight and lower risk for diabetes. Lark DPP is there whenever you need a tip or a nudge, too!