Enough of the excuses! Quit taking the easy way out and take charge of your own health. It will take work, but isn’t your life worth it?
This is the first in a series of posts I intend to publish over the next few weeks targeting the most common excuses I hear from people unwilling to make changes necessary to live a healthier life. Take a look at these excuses and then a good hard look at yourself. Are these excuses you use? Are they excuses you hear your loved ones use? If so, I challenge you to stop today!
I’m going to introduce these excuses today and give you my opinion on why I think they are all bunk. But I don’t do just opinion here! Every week I plan on diving into each of these excuses one by one and provide you with tactics and resources for overcoming them.
It’s time to look in the mirror and be honest, are you leaning on any of these crutches? Are you ready to get real with yourself and commit to making changes in your life that will lead to a happier, healthier you?
I hear this one a lot as I get older and it frankly upsets me more than all the others on this list. As of this post, I am 45 years old probably in the best shape of my life. I intend on improving my fitness as I get older, not giving in to old man time. At some point, we are all forced to slow down but most people I hear say this have given in way too early.
Your workouts may require some modification, but there is no reason to give up on activity entirely. Discuss what you can and can’t do with your physician and then get active.
Living healthy is too expensive
I hear this consistently related to fitness and healthy eating. I see no merit in this argument related to fitness today. There was a time when to learn how to perform an exercise or put together a reasonably balanced workout you had to either visit a gym, buy a video or buy a book. None of that is true anymore. Information on exercise is immediately accessible if you have access to the internet.
Also, we know that simple body weight exercise is as or more effective at building strength than equipment assisted workouts.
Sure, you won’t be Arnold Schwarzenegger without pumping iron, but if you’re looking for general strength, overall fitness, and injury prevention you don’t really need to spend on equipment.
A few dumbells and a pull-up bar are more than adequate.
Healthy eating is a different story. If you are looking to remove all processed foods, chemicals and preservatives from your life, you will likely end up spending more on prepared food. However, if you are committed to preparing more healthy home meals instead of going out to eat this cost will be more than offset. There are also numerous strategies you can employ to reduce your grocery costs with minimal effort.
I don’t have the time
This is easily the most frequent excuse I hear. I get it, we are all busy. And yes, you may not be able to squeeze in a trip to the gym every day but given the other options available today to keep you active you don’t need to. Add to that, the mounting evidence that shorter, more intense workouts are at least as effective as long moderate exercise should mean you have even less ability to hide behind this excuse.
There is now a host of apps, DVDs and on-demand workout websites that can pack in a ton of fitness into 20-30 minutes.
If you’re telling me you can’t find 30 minutes in your day to improve your health, you are lying to yourself.
How much time are you spending right now surfing the web?
And yes, cooking meals takes more time than zapping something in the microwave but there are plenty of healthy, quick meals you can put together that will keep you and your family on the right path. I certainly don’t buy the excuse that it is quicker to go out to eat than prepare a healthy home-cooked meal. With a little preparation and some research, you can cook healthy meals at home without spending the entire day in the kitchen.
I can’t exercise because (insert ailment here)
So, this may be valid if you are bedridden with the flu or have a temporarily debilitating injury. In these instances, it is not an excuse, it is a reason. What I take issue with is people who give up on physical activity because of nagging pain, a permanent medical condition, or a change in their overall health. The classic example of this is the “old football injury” guy who has decided to let himself go due to a knee injury that happened 30 years ago.
You have options. They may not be the same ones as the past, but there are always options. Talk to your Dr. and develop an activity plan in conjunction with your treatment plan.
I’m confident that your physician would not recommend “couch therapy” as a long-term approach to your health. If they do, time to find a new provider.
My Doctor says I am fine
Are you sure? Did you really talk about your overall health or just some blood test results? Did your Dr. spend the time with you to discuss your exercise and eating habits? Likely not unless you had a full physical and even then that interview is inconsistent across providers.
This also assumes that you are honest with your physician about your lifestyle. In many cases, the physician and patient are not aligned on the definition of things like healthy diet and regular exercise.
Be honest, be specific, and demand the time with your physician to discuss your diet and activity.
My medicine will keep my healthy
This one usually accompanies “My Doctor says I am fine”. In most cases, this is a patient hearing what they want to hear or a Dr. who does not value their patient enough to have tough conversations about lifestyle.
OK, your blood pressure and cholesterol meds may keep your numbers below the danger line. Does that really mean you are healthy? Do you really want to be on these medicines every day for the rest of your life? Have you talked to your Dr about non-pharmaceutical options to resolve your chronic conditions?
Being dependent on a bottle (or three) of pills is NOT healthy.
Not to mention, living on pills is becoming increasingly expensive. Do some research, have a frank talk with your Dr., and see what lifestyle changes you can make to eliminate your dependence on medications.
I don’t know how to……
This tells me one of two things to me: You are apprehensive about doing something wrong and embarrassing yourself or you are being lazy. Sorry, tough words I know. But with the options available over the internet, on television and even your local library, there is no reason you cannot learn to cook healthy and properly perform exercises.
Educate yourself, seek help from professionals or friends and don’t be afraid of trial and error.
I don’t need to worry, I’ve got great genes.
There are a lot of people who are genetically blessed. Regardless of how terrible they treat their body through poor diet and limited activity they somehow have normal test results. And yes, this is usually due to genetics.
I have heard far too many clearly obese people tell me they are not concerned about their weight or activity levels because they are living the same way their parents and grandparents did. While it may be true you are genetically blessed, I doubt it is accurate to say that the previous generations were as inactive as you are. They type of work and the conveniences we have today did not exist 30 years ago. Frankly, if you work in front of a computer, you need to workout every day just to equal what our parents exerted living their lives at the same age.
Hitting the genetic lottery may help them fend off serious problems for a time, but poor habits catch up to all eventually.
It’s time to take a hard look at yourself and be honest, are you leaning on any of these crutches? Are you ready to get real with yourself and commit to making changes in your life that will lead to a happier, healthier you? Awesome! You have taken the hardest step by making a commitment to change. Now let’s get to it! Your body will thank you for it!