The little white lies we tell ourselves don’t seem harmful, but these tiny untruths can really stand in the way of you reaching your full potential and achieving your goals. So, do you want to stop telling yourself lies that sabotage your efforts? Here, we have the top five excuses and myths that undermine a healthy approach to banish these words from your lips so that you’ll gain confidence and reach your goals.
1. “I need to go on a diet”
The whole concept of a diet sets us up to think that we will be ‘on a diet’ and then ‘off a diet’. However, it will be easier to keep the pounds off if you think of this change as a healthy lifestyle and not something that is just something you plan to do only until you reach the weight you want. In this sense, don't think about the foods you can't eat, think about the foods you’re going to add to your diet, all the fresh produce that’s in season right now that you can incorporate into your diet will push out the room on your plate for unhealthy foods. Eating healthily is not a punishment, it’s a reward for your body and your body will thank you for it.
2. “I’ll get back on track on Monday/after the holidays/in the new year”
It’s inevitable that you will have a few slip-ups during your diet, but the real mistake is to decide to forget the diet for the rest of the day and resume it tomorrow, Monday, next week…. Not then, NOW! A study by the University of Toronto showed that this kind of ‘The diet starts tomorrow’ thinking leads to binges and weight-gain, due to overeating when we have the opportunity before an impending period of deprivation.
So, if you see yourself slipping up as you reach for a slice of pizza, remember to really enjoy every mouthful and then stop there – you have not broken your diet, you’ve just taken a detour. The most important thing is that you have successfully avoided a binge, which would have undone a lot more of your hard work than one slice of pizza. Look forward, not back.
3. “All my problems will be solved when I lose weight”
Dropping pounds may leave you feeling healthier and happier, but it won’t make all your problems go away. Be clear about why you want to lose weight, and set realistic goals as it’s far more motivating to strive towards being fit and energetic than it is to strive towards being a size 2. That said, losing weight can really boost your sense of self-esteem and confidence, making you feel much more open to trying new experiences, so make sure you embrace the unexpected positive changes too!
4. “Heavy people don’t deserve to eat”
Many overweight people struggle with eating in front of people, especially when less than healthy food is on offer, fearing that others will judge them for their choices. However, seeing yourself through the imagined harsh and critical eyes of others is certain to have a negative effect on your weight loss plan. When we become self-critical, we engage our brain’s survival reflex, increasing feelings of stress and releasing cortisol, which in turn causes cravings for fatty and sweet foods. Instead, we should learn to accept and be comfortable with our bodies, even if they are not yet perfect, as this has been shown to have positive effects on weight loss efforts and in maintaining healthy eating habits.
This lie is also dangerous as it forces you to hide your eating habits, making eating a taboo and therefore creating an unhealthy relationship with food. If you feel afraid to eat in front of others, such as at work, you force yourself into limiting your eating habits to when you’re alone, which could mean waiting longer in between meals and resulting in unhealthy binges. Everyone has to eat, no matter what their size, and the occasional treat helps you to stay on plan as it stops feelings of deprivation and the inevitable binges that follow these feelings.
5. “I don’t eat that much, I don’t know where I’m going wrong”
If you’re serious about losing weight, you need to monitor everything you eat and drink. Keeping a food journal can really open up your eyes to the unintentional snacking and mindless eating you do while you’re bored, on the run, or watching TV. Counting calories and fat content, as well as striving to eat more foods rich in protein and fiber will help you re-educate yourself into eating properly, as you will want to make the most of the calories you allow yourself and choose foods that fill you up for longer.
It is also true that many people don’t eat a lot and yet struggle to lose weight, which is probably due to skipping meals or not eating enough calories to sustain themselves throughout the day. Not eating enough lowers your metabolism and your body becomes inefficient at processing food. There is a right amount of food to eat, and going below this level can stall your weight loss as much as going above it.
6. “I’m too stressed/tired/busy to exercise”
Aside from a physical injury, there’s no excuse for not exercising. If you’re tired, then exercise will help to motivate and energize you. If you’re stressed, exercise helps release stress and tension - whether you try taking your frustration out in a kickboxing class or choose to connect with your inner calm doing yoga, you are guaranteed to feel better afterwards. If being too busy is your excuse, then as well as a food diary, try keeping an activity diary. Was there a time during the day when you could have been more active, even just by doing 10 minutes of activity?
At lunchtime when you were on Facebook, could you have gone for a brisk 15 minute walk? While you were watching TV this evening, could you have done some squats and lunges during the commercial breaks? Exercise doesn’t have to mean hours at the gym, just including a little bit of activity during your day can make all the difference, and the extra energy you get from increasing your activity levels will mean you’ll be more efficient in your daily tasks, giving you even more time and motivation to exercise!
Do any of these lies and excuses sound familiar? What did you do to avoid or bounce back? Let us know by commenting below!