There is a saying that comes to my mind, “excuses are like a**holes, everyone’s got one”, and when it comes to eating clean and exercising consistently they have tons of them. Believe me, I hear them all the time. My friend was in town, I was out of town, I had a work event, I don’t have the money, my kids won’t eat healthy stuff, etc. etc. There are always going to be times when we cannot follow our plan or program, but the question is do we accept that and take responsibility for making sure that it is only 10 percent of the time rather than allowing it to snowball into 50 percent. At 50 percent compliance on healthy eating, you are not progressing anywhere, you are probably regressing. This is often the case when people complain about working out a decent amount without seeing results in their measurements. You can workout all you want but if you don’t get your eating under control you won’t reach your goals. Your diet is paramount to fat loss, as you can loose fat without exercise at all, but you cannot loose fat without the right diet.
Guideline: If you have an excuse each week, you don’t have problems, you are the problem, so change your mindset.
When excuses arise you have to ask, is it really the current situation or do we actually have a long running perspective that is too lenient and allows for too much unhealthy eating? Or is it simply that we have an issue with being disciplined and doing what we say? For all of the excuses that I hear from unfit people or program drop outs, there are still tons of other people that are able to live it and maintain their fitness with similar life constraints. In fact, for those people it doesn’t seem hard at all. You rarely will ever hear them complain about it because they were disciplined through the challenging times, got the results, felt the benefit and so now they love it. What you don’t know or see is that they have dealt with challenging situations, only they handled them differently. What separates those people is that they do not get defensive when they are thrown off track, they take responsibility, and find a way around the problem so they can stick with the program/lifestyle. There is no blaming or justification, just some honest searching for solutions. If you choose to look, there is usually a path just behind the current barrier.
Strategy: If you mess up, fess up and make it up.
If you are prone to excuses, here is what you need to do. First, shut up. The excuses rarely make you look better. And just ask your coach, boss or partner, they don’t want a list of excuses, they want you to acknowledge your slip up and show commitment to not letting it happen again and continuing to move forward. So simply stop with all the external excuses, whining and general resistance to your situation. Whatever you resist persists so the longer you complain and make excuses for your current situation, the longer it will last, and the longer it will take to make healthy eating a lifestyle. If you hear yourself making up an excuse just cut yourself off in mid sentence and own up to what you did or didn’t do. Even though there is often times some external situation, we always have some part in it since we are in control of our decisions. Once the defensive talk stops and you are in an open, solution oriented mental space, you’ll have enough room in your brain to think about the real situations. Also ask for help from your support people, including your coaches, that is what they are here for. The goal is to find ways past the issue, instead of judging yourself, blaming others or using the situation as justification for a complete stop to healthy eating. You have control over everything you do, especially what you eat, so take the power back and create your own convenience. With a little time and creativity, any eating issue can be over come.
Strategy: Plan ahead to be prepared with healthy food at all times
Unfortunately the general society is not always on board with healthy living and more interested in selling the easiest, longest lasting, cheapest and tastiest treats they can. This is reality and it means that you need to put a little more thought and planning into your meals and snacks for the day. Here are some tactical examples of creating your own convenience to consistently keep your eating clean:
- Grocery shop weekly or bi-weekly, no matter what day or time it is and stock the freezer for those times you cannot get there.
- Cook in large amounts so you have leftovers for lunch or quick dinners.
- Stock healthy snacks weekly at your work place. (fruit, yoghurt, bars, nuts)
- Carry healthy snacks in your bag in case you get caught traveling, etc.
- Go to bed early so you wake up early enough to prepare a decent breakfast.
- Research the healthier fast food options in your neighborhood.
- Make your own lunch or several lunches the night before.