First off, I hate the word excuses used in conjunction with exercise and food related topics, I’m wondering why I haven’t used the word ‘reasons’, but that doesn’t seem to fit the title either. The condescending, bordering obnoxious question ‘what’s your excuse?’ is asked so often by personal trainers, whose job involves them being in the gym, combined with time between clients to go home and prep healthy dinners, that it often results in me wanting to scream ‘I have a real job!, and that’s not my “excuse” it’s a f**king reason!’
Everybody has reasons for not being able to make the best choices for their body, and it’s something that others should respect and not criticise, like the saying goes, ‘when you’ve walked a mile in my shoes…’.
However, since starting my new and improved healthy eating and workout regime, I have come to realise that some of my ‘reasons’ don’t really hold up. I just spent 40 mins prepping breakfast and lunch for tomorrow, and dinner for tonight, and thought to myself, ‘when did I suddenly have time to do all this?’. The answer is, I’ve always had time, I just chose to do something else with it.
1. I don’t have the time to prepare healthy meals.
There is always time. It’s about making time. When people used to say this to me before I would want to stab them in the eye. As someone who works an average of 60 hours a week and spends a further 10-14 hrs a week travelling back and forth work, I haven’t been particularly reasonable when faced with someone telling me that I need to “make time”. However, it’s true. I could have spent that time today calling my mum (which I still need to do), packing my bag for work (which I still need to do), or lying on the sofa before going to my next job at 9pm (which I would LOVE to do), but I opted to use the time to prep. And prepping involves prioritising. If you haven’t got time it’s because you’ve prioritised something else, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you need to be honest with yourself about it.
2. It’s too expensive.
Well, it’s expensive, but is it too expensive? I guess that depends on your perspective. I used to spend an average of £30pw on food shopping, but then perhaps an extra £10-£20 a day buying lunch and snacks, and extras to go with dinner. So, essentially, some weeks I was actually spending over £100 on food. Now I spend between £45 and £70pw. Which is a lot for two of us, but at the same time I can count on one hand how many times I’ve bought lunch instead of making it over the last three months, so it actually balances itself out. If I had two or three kids, I would probably need to re – think this though, as I couldn’t even imagine being able to afford to shop healthy for five. But that’s not to say there isn’t a way, you can make a sweet potato dhal that feeds five for £5, so it would just take a bit more imagination, and kids open to trying new foods.
3. There’s no time to work out.
(See point 1. Yes there is, you have just chosen to do something else with that time). I would like to point out here though, that everybody knows their limitations, spiritually and mentally. It’s very unlikely that you will ever be physically too exhausted to work out, but it’s very likely that you will feel too mentally drained to do so. And that’s OK. But don’t use it as an excuse. Accept it as your reason for that day, but don’t use it as your reason for a whole year. HIIT workouts take a maximum of 30 mins and can be done at home, in the park, or in the gym. Everybody has 30 minutes. So if you don’t find the time, it’s because you don’t want to.
4. What’s the point? I don’t lose weight anyway.
THIS IS THE ONE I SAY THE MOST! And if I’m honest, it’s one that I still catch myself saying during a ‘I haven’t lost a single pound’ tantrum, and need to talk myself down off the ledge from.
But really, when was the last time you really stuck at a healthy eating plan? And I mean really stuck to it, not just for the obligatory two weeks and then started tweaking it to suit your snacking habits, but went balls out 100% committed for more than a month?
We want it all in a day. We live in a fast – paced culture where we want results and we want them yesterday, and in a lot of areas of life, this is possible. You want red hair, you got it! You want fast food, you can get it pretty much any time of day or night. Holidays, piercings, new furniture, clothes, even surgery, can be done or obtained pretty much as soon as your heart desires it. But when it comes to changing your body, your eating habits, and more to the point changing your mindset, that takes time, months, years even, and real commitment. If it isn’t working, you need to shake it up a bit and do it for longer. This is one area of your life where you won’t get results fast, and if you do, it’s unlikely it will last.
5. I don’t want to.
Now this is probably my favourite. Just because I don’t believe it, but hear it so often. I’ve even said it myself. ‘I’m happy with how I am, so why should I eat rabbit food and work out in the gym, just to fit into an image that society has created for me. I’m happy looking the way I do.’
Now I’m not saying that every time someone says this, they’re lying. I’ve met people who have said this to me, or words to the effect of, and I have believed them. But I am saying that for every 9 out of 10 people I hear say this, I think ‘bullshit’.
It’s a great ‘reason’ not to make any positive changes to improve your physical and mental wellbeing though, isn’t it? ‘I don’t want to’. And who has the right to tell you to change the way you live, the way you look? No-one. But it’s not a real reason. It’s a defence mechanism. If you don’t try you can’t fail right? If you never start that healthy eating programme you can’t let yourself down by not completing it. If you don’t go to the gym, you can’t do what you knew you would, and quit by week three. You want a better body, you just don’t believe you can do it. You don’t trust yourself to stick to it. And rather than admit that to yourself, you convince yourself you’re happy just as you are.
And there’s no shame in being happy as you are, no matter what size you are or what you look like, in fact it’s so rare these days, it should be celebrated! But if you just don’t want to try, if you just don’t think you can climb that mountain (sickly little cliché there I know), then that’s pretty sad, and the only person you’ve successfully lied to, is yourself.