What’s your excuse? When it comes to excess weight, why do we have such a hard time taking it off and keeping it off? Here are some of the more common excuses and my suggestions for how to counter them.
1) My life is too overwhelming to fit in a disciplined diet and exercise.
I frequently ask my clients what would happen if they became seriously ill and could not handle all of their responsibilities at home and work. Would solutions be found? Most likely they would. Would they find time to exercise and eat right to address the health crisis? Yes, they would if they want to recover.
So, if the time necessary to shop and cook and eat right and exercise will exist under those circumstances, why doesn’t it exist before a health crisis brings a screeching halt to their lives? At that point, most people will make the time to exercise and eat right. But why wait for a health crisis to occur? Find the time to make the changes now.
2) My boss harangues me when I try to take a lunch hour and exercise.
There are enough studies now to support the positive impact that exercise can have on your health--and its impact on preventing illnesses that will cost your company in sick days--so gather some information and present it to your boss at an appropriate time. You might also suggest Booster Breaks, a concept using small breaks during the business day devoted to 15 minutes of physical activity. It will help you and your officemates look forward to work if it includes an effective exercise experience that recharges people and helps everyone avoid turning to boredom or stress munchies.
Another option is to suggest that the company bring in a wellness person weekly for an exercise class on the premises or a nutrition workshop. That could help make the boss more open to allowing you to take time during the day to exercise.
3) I’ve tried lots of different diets and none of them have worked.
If you struggle with calorie control and finding dieting strategies that work for you, then maybe it’s time to invest in a visit or two with a dietician or nutritionist. Their role in your life can be cost-effective and also limited, and a professional can ask the hard questions and define the problems with your dietary choices.
They can then frame a program that fits your personality, your schedule, your financial situation and your goals. It’s called a personalized diet, and it may be just what you need. It probably will require just a few meetings, and then a monthly follow-up can help keep you on track with your personalized program.
4) There are too many temptations at home, at work and in social situations.
One of my first blogs of 2014 discussed cleaning your space, and it included tips and strategies to set up a less tempting home environment. The principles extend to work and social situations. Invited to a home dinner party? Offer to bring a dish and make sure it’s healthy. That way you’ll know there’s at least one dish that’s appropriate for your eating plan. Invited to a big buffet? Use a smaller plate, make vegetables the base, and take small spoonfuls of favorite choices.
If you have wine, limit yourself to two glasses and drink a full glass of water in between the two. Hold a hot beverage after you eat, chew gum, or suck on a hard candy to avoid taking seconds. For work, bring small portions of healthy snacks, such as nuts, an apple or banana, perhaps a small Greek yogurt.
Pack a brown bag lunch for work so you can control your food. If there’s a planned restaurant lunch, get involved in the location choice so that you know some healthy selections will be available. Doing this even 80 percent of the time can help you to stay on your diet.
Amy Hendel is a Physician Assistant and Health Coach with over 20 years of experience. Noted author, journalist and lifestyle expert, she brings extensive expertise to her monthly shareposts. Her most recent book, The 4 Habits of Healthy Families is available for purchase online, and you can watch her in action on her shows Food Rescue and What's for Lunch? Sign up for her daily health tweets or catch her daily news report at www.healthgal.com.