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The Skinny on Weight Loss Excuses

It doesn't matter where you go, overweight and obese people have a million excuses for not losing and maintaining their weight. You can call it grasa, fett, gordura or just plain old fat, but it is a health hazard and you know it.

I had a heart trauma in April '11, and what I heard afterwards was this: 57% of those that have had a heart attack don't even continue to take their medication after the first refill! While, close to 80% make no significant life style changes.

If you are telling yourself there is some reason you cannot lose weight, you probably won't!

I don't have time. - If it was going out to dinner you probably would. Look you have time for lots of things, you need to schedule it. If working out is not in your calendar, it is unlikely that you'll win at this game.

I still have time. - You may be young enough where your food and lack of exercise is not a problem, but for most it doesn't work forever - especially past 40. Yeah, I know about your grandmother that drank a case of beer and smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day, only ate fried food, dated 5 men at a time and lived until 145. Let me know if you make it.

Everyone in my family is fat. - Why is that? Could it be diet and exercise?

It's a cheat day. - Get out your stones and excuses about shaking up your metabolism blah blah blah. The truth is that cheaters are in the group of roller coaster dieters, from which nearly all of them eventually gain back the weight they lost the other 6 days a week.

I have kids. - Yeah, so take them for a run. I take my 9-year-old walking, riding bikes, rolerblading, running every day that it is nice enough to do so. We plan vacations near bike trails so we can ride as a family. When she was a baby, we just put her in the front pack, or bicycle trailer. My YMCA has kids care as well.

I'm too busy. - Well, health is a choice; it might be time to make it.

The dog/kangaroo didn't eat it. - If you are full at the restaurant, you'll be tempted to eat whatever you bring home before lunch the following day. If that is the case, leave it.

I don't know what to do. - I don't know about you, but most of us here do not have degrees in health and nutrition. MFP is a good guideline for the amount of food, and balance of what we call macros: carbs, protein and fat. Here's a tip, if it is low-cal junk food, its still junk food. Cardio which is truly healthy is when the heart rate goes above 120. This requires walking at 3 mph or possibly higher.

It's too hard to lose weight, I've already tried. - You are correct, and you've proved it. That is why you need to forget dieting. You make changes you can do for the rest of your life.

I can't afford healthy food. - I will agree that a variety of healthy food costs more. Here are some tips for saving money. Drink only water, it's free. Many grocery stores have fruits and veggies that are discounted because they are past fresh: we buy 6 apples for a dollar, 2 peppers for half a buck, and 3 bananas for even less. Over all we find them to be a good value. Brown rice is the same price as white and far better. You'll be eating less, usually 3-4 ounces of meat or fish. You can buy packaged ham and cheese in bulk and freeze it. The same is true for some fruits and veggies. Frozen food isn't horrible, and most canned food can be rinsed to reduce sodium content.

It's too late.  - I'm already _____ years old. - Yup, and tomorrow you be that plus one day. I don't get it.

I'm afraid of failure. - I have met a few folks on MFP that have a lot weight to lose (me I was close to 100). It is a daunting task, and it takes time. Read the Success Story forums and friend those folks who have done what you need to do. I find it inspiring. On average, those that work at it can lose 40-100 lbs in a year. (Yes, I am sure there are some with medical reasons who cannot and I am not talking about them.)

I'm afraid of success! - Being obese for a long period of time becomes a way of life. We set up our enablers, buy cars, furniture and even our personality changes to accommodate our physical state. I sat with a guy the other day that could not fit in the booth at a lunch place. It was sad. Then he ordered a 3000 calories steak bomb.

My significant other doesn't care why should I? - Most mature adults are smart enough not say "I would love you better thinner!" I suppose there are some that have spouses that like them in an unavailable state, but for the most part, our health is our concern. Losing weight has many benefits other than just looking and feeling better.

I can't exercise, there's no place for me to walk. - We need to start where we stand. The goal is eating well, and getting in three 30 minute cardio session a week in which we get the heart rate over 120. You can walk in place, by home gym resistance bands, and an array of other things. I bet you can find a treadmill on Craigslist for cheap!

I love to eat. - Yup, me too. I am just enjoying eating better, and less.

I do a lot of traveling for work and find it hard to stick to my weight loss plan. - It is not an easy task to eat out all the time, but many places I have stayed at had a refrigerator and a grocery store nearby.

I've heard that running puts me at risk for knee problems and arthritis later in life. LOL, that's BS. But you can try swimming, use the elliptical or riding a bike.

It's just one. - One breakfast muffin is equal to two 30 minute cardio sessions.

It's the holidays. - So?

I don't cook my own meals. - It's hard to control what others do. I made an agreement with my wife over what I was willing to eat each week. Communication helps, and filling up with a large snack before meals is also another option. If you eat half a bag of baby carrots, you are probably not going to chow down on the fried chicken.

Well, those are the ones that I used. How about you?

Thanks for the votes and comments, I very much appreciate them.

162 votes + -


SueGeer wrote 116 months ago:
Wise words, as always xxx
vabchloser wrote 116 months ago:
That was really good! Great job :) I used MANY of those excuses...and even now people try to use them for me.

When I say, "I HAVE to get my workout in," then two sentences later say my life is busy and I have quite a bit of stress in it, my mom is the first one to say, "Well, you are doing this to yourself. You don't have to do so much. Wouldn't it be relaxing to eat out and let someone else make dinner now and again?" (referring to working out and making my own meals). I just tell her putting healthy food and daily exercise down on the bottom of the list is what made me fat. Putting it at the top of the list makes me busy, but it's helping me lose weight. Ugh. So frustrating!!
DebbieLyn63 wrote 116 months ago:
My biggest excuse after 'dieting' for a few days with little to no results, was "Well I can starve myself and maintain, or I can just watch what I eat, but eat normal, and maintain, so why do I bother?" This type of thinking is how I gained 100 pounds over 16 years.

Thanks for laying it all out there.
Destinie589 wrote 116 months ago:
Great post!! I really needed to hear it! :)
thingal12 wrote 116 months ago:
Love this! :)
For me, during the holiday's (& in past situations) some people expect you to over-eat or eat too much food. This makes things more difficult/stressful/annoying for someone who is trying to eat less and eat healthier. My past eating habits are changing, they aren't 'forever'. I have a hard time dealing with size 0-2 people who think that my frame (I'm a size 6-8) means I wear a size Large or XL & I eat too much sweets/junk food. No matter how much I try to brush them off, they seem to put their self-worth into their weight. They are the worst kinds of enablers!
lkweber21 wrote 116 months ago:
LOL, the other day I refused a sugary frosted treat in one of my meetings and the dietary manager who brought it (and knows I am changing the way I eat and should know about nutrition) said "But Lindsay, it's Christmas time" I didn't have one :)
rmsrws wrote 116 months ago:
One of my favorites.....I have a cold, and am unable to eat healthy and exercise!!! Really??? A runny nose stops you from eating healthy foods. I never understood this one!
SusanDoesIt wrote 116 months ago:
Totally agree. I had a million excuses before I started in January. But I realized that NOT putting my health first is the stupidest thing ever. What could possibly be more important? You have nothing to give if you're six feet under! Now that I've done it for 11 months, there are really no excuses. I did it. So I can continue to do it. All that crap I thought was keeping me from succeeding...didn't. End of story.
Flyer615 wrote 116 months ago:
Great blog, David. I think this is my favorite one that you've written. I've heard so many excuses that they all start running together. The fact of the matter is, if we want to truly lose weight, there is nothing or no one that can stop us. I find that my tolerance level for excuses is shrinking. In the immortal words of master Yoda, "Do, or do not. There is no try."
Endeavor to persevere!
Flyer615 wrote 116 months ago:
Sorry. That should have read, " ... if we truly want to lose weight, ..."
ahviendha wrote 116 months ago:
My colleagues love to say "I can't exercise in front of other people! I'm too fat!" So they won't walk around the neighborhood, or go to a gym, or swim, all because they don't want to be embarrassed by wearing workout clothes which will show their weight. As if regular clothes don't do this!
Scoochie1 wrote 116 months ago:
I'm an insurance underwriter, and I can't tell you how many complaints we get when we charge people extra (usually BMI 35+). All we hear is 'but there is nothing wrong with me, my doc says my [cholesterol/blood pressure] is fine!'
Yep - maybe now in your early 40s. But the statistics say you will be the guy putting in a claim in 15-20 years time.
Gerald_King wrote 116 months ago:
great blog post very true
DaveMurphy6 wrote 116 months ago:
Yes thats all true..but I have slow metabolism..hahahahaha
MaryRegs wrote 116 months ago:
amen to all of it
Laura80111 wrote 116 months ago:
How did you know I used those? Great Blog.
jagfan wrote 116 months ago:
Great job! Loved it...Now, working out is my excuse for not doing other things! Getting the house clean, going back to finish my! I just don't have time!
mamaclose wrote 116 months ago:
This is not an excuse I used myself, but heard from a "friend" recently; "I refuse to eat healthy. I want to live life to the fullest!"

I bit my tongue and didn't say anything, but 5 days later that comment still irks me to no end.

SherryRueter wrote 116 months ago:
First of all, great blog post. Perfect!
I just heard this one response to "If I were you I would have some, come on...its the holiday's"
"Yeah, but I'm not trying to look like you!"
rmcruzin wrote 116 months ago:

what a post!! It honestly depicted one of my excuses, lol..(at least i'm being honest). I was like "dang it I do that". This has been an enlightenment and was much appreciated.
wisebadger53 wrote 116 months ago:
I think you covered most of them today! Great post! :-)
TrailRunner61 wrote 116 months ago:
Great post! I think that one of my fav. excuses was, Oh it's the holidays, I'm not going to 'diet' because it's not worth the hassle. (which really mean't that I was lazy, wanted to eat junk, pig out and feel like I had an excuse for it, just because the junk was there) I'll just lose the weight after Christmas. haha Now I realize that eating what I want on THE Holiday is OK! I just have to eat ok before and after and keep moving. No more excuses. :)
wendytc wrote 116 months ago:
I love correlating a cheat food with the amount of time working out to counteract it! :) One cinnamon roll at Paneras (or fresh bakery = 630 Calories or 60 minutes all out on the elliptical, 70 minutes of running, 90 minutes of aerobics, or 120 minutes of walking...still want that cinnamon roll. :-}
xcoyote wrote 116 months ago:
"Cheat Meals"/Days or Refeed days are a great and legitimate way of keeping your metabolism from stalling, by bringing yourself up to maintanance calories, or increase carbohydrates (when otherwise on a low carbohydrate diet). As for the excuses, I used to think like that, then I thought to myself, why should I worry about what other people are doing? It's their life, if they are carrying a bit of extra weight on them, don't really enjoy exercising, so much, are otherwise healthy why would you want to impose your beleifs on them? That's as bad as that "reformed" smoker that goes around preaching for everyone to stop smoking. People gotta do it for themselves, for their own reasons. We should be happy with our own success :-)
NordicAlien wrote 116 months ago:
I agree that a person needs cheat meals / days, but some people find it very easy to allow the frequency to creep up. "Occasionally" starts out at once a month, and then becomes once a fortnight, once a week, Saturdays and Sundays, and before you know it you're killing yourself at the gym five days a week and not losing weight because you gorge at weekends. Not everyone does this, of course, but a lot do. I know I do, unless I keep control over it with an iron fist. (It doesn't help that a lot of "cheat" foods are full of addictive chemicals - if your body's sensitised to chips, or chocolate, or pizza, it can be *very* hard to stop at one without setting yourself up for days of monstrous cravings.)

My own excuses...they have some element of legitimacy, but even the ones that are technically true are becoming more and more irrelevant.

"I have fibromyalgia, and it hurts to exercise." True. Hurts like nobody's business. Back when I was slimmer, this was a no-brainer - exercise beyond a slow walk was crazy painful, not exercising was not (or was only a little bit painful). However, now that I'm heavier, *everything* hurts more. And if I don't exercise and shift the weight, I'll gain more weight, and the more I gain the more I'll hurt until I can't walk at all.

"I pick up one illness after another, and have to stay in bed for weeks or months at a time, and keep ending back at square one with the exercise regime." True. But as with the first example, stopping the exercise and the healthy eating in the long term will only make me fatter. Yeah, a lot of the time it's two steps forward and two back. And I feel like I don't make any progress, because just when I'm doing well I get mono / appendicitis / pneumonia / scarlet fever / all of the above, and have to spend the month in bed, and that sucks. But even if I keep stepping forward and back, that's still better than only stepping back. If my only choice is maintaining my current weight or gaining more weight (I refuse to accept that these are my only choices, but if they were) I know which I'd pick.

I don't think I've made the other excuses, at least not consciously. I'm usually pretty brutal with myself. Although if I hadn't been justifying things in my mind, I wouldn't have ended up fat, so I guess I must be making unconscious excuses, eh?

Great post. :)
maymay207 wrote 116 months ago:
OMW I have used all of these reasons, not to change my lifestyle, dsjohndrow thank you so much for the post. AWESOME I so needed this today..thank you
imcool19 wrote 116 months ago:
Haha, this is an amazing post!!!!!!!!!!! INSPIRING :)
Celeigh12 wrote 116 months ago:
Preach it!!!
mabelbabel1 wrote 116 months ago:
Its all about taking responsibility for yourself.

The only person who made me fat was me.....the only person who can get me fit and slim is me.....and making excuses is not an option.

Great well written blog.
janet0513 wrote 116 months ago:
Another great blog. It is so true. We all make excuses, now its time to make change :)
FifiLaPhue wrote 116 months ago:
What about my reason ( or excuse as you might call it). Have been at gym since March 1 running up a storm on the treadmill or cycling miles on the bike for minimum 30mins each day, with additional hour strength trainng while maintaining close watch on eating healthy food. Kept this up for 6 months. Starting weight 266. Ending weight 266.

Start over with weight watchers slowly over a period of one month move to 263.2. Add the concept of keeping my 37 WW points within a caloric range, hence myfitnesspal.

Stick to my 1270 a day, while maintaining my 37 points at WW and working out at the gym. Newest weight?? 267.

YUP a weight gain of 3.8 lbs over the last week! NO it is NOT my period!

Now, hey, I don't mind doing exercise to feel healthy,so I will continue going to the gym, and continue to eat healthy, but if ONE more thin person looks sideways at me to make their judgements about whether or not I want to die early, I am going to throw the full weight of my 267lbs into a dropkick that connects with their neck! How's that?
Time2LoseWeightNOW wrote 116 months ago:
Right on point , David...I have used many the past.

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