Top 5 excuses for not eating healthily
We all know we should eat more healthily, but many of us don’t, so why not? Health and wellness coach Joanne Henson looks at the five most common excuses – and how to overcome them
1 Healthy food is boring
What do you mean by healthy? Low-fat cottage cheese, rice cakes and low-calorie ready meals? Think again – these are more processed than normal food, have less flavour and more sugar, artificial flavourings and salt, none of which is healthy! If a food is boring, don’t eat it. Instead, try something new and natural such as fruit, veg, nuts, pulses and lean proteins. If you’re not sure what to do with them, buy a healthy food cookbook and you’ll soon find healthy food can be tasty, varied and satisfying.
2 I don’t have time to prepare healthy food
We’re all busy and food advertising reinforces the idea that we don’t have time to make and eat real food, but is that true? Think of a typical day – getting up, showering, working, drinks afterwards, watching TV, checking social media – then work out which activity could you drop or reduce to make time for real food. And cooking a healthy meal can be quick – try a stir-fry, an omelette, a salad, scrambled eggs, grill some meat… It could actually be quicker than going for a takeaway.
3 I can’t stick to diets
Diet are hard – you’re following rules made by someone who doesn’t know you, you’re restricting how much you eat and denying yourself your favourite treats. But diets are not the same as healthy eating, which is about improving the quality of your food rather than reducing the quantity; it’s about nurturing your body, not punishing it. Eating well improves the way your body functions and changes the way it stores or burns fat, so if you do have excess weight to lose, you will lose it.
4 I’m eating out
What a great treat! But your body doesn’t process restaurant meals any differently to food eaten at home, so while you don’t need to abstain totally, you don’t have to have several pieces of bread, or three unhealthy courses, or chips – or to eat absolutely everything on your plate even though you’re fit to burst! Try compromise – if you want a burger, have it without the bun; ask for salad instead of chips or share a portion. If you want a dessert, don’t have a starter. If you want a stodgy main course, have a salad for starter. Make some healthy choices to give yourself permission to enjoy an unhealthy one. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
5 I just can’t resist
Many salty and sugary foods are made to be moreish, so it’s not you – it’s the food! You only need to resist something if it’s there to be resisted, so while you shouldn’t attempt to give up your favourite food totally, neither should you keep it around to tempt you. But you can have it for a treat, and when you do, really savour it without a side order of guilt. It’s amazing how many people lose what they think are uncontrollable cravings when they know they are ‘allowed’ something they love.
Joanne adds, “If you find yourself using the same excuses while kicking yourself for not being as healthy, slim, energetic and happy as you want to be, ask yourself if you are accepting your own excuses as insurmountable truths when really they are just one view of a situation that you can change if you open your mind and get creative with your thinking. Overcoming your excuses is the key to your success.”
Joanne Henson is the author of ‘What’s Your Excuse For Not Eating Healthily?’ and ‘What’s Your Excuse For Not Getting Fit?’