Excuses for not dieting or continuing with your diet

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”: Benjamin Franklin


‘I can’t afford a good diet.’
This is not to be simply dismissed, in that there are many healthier foods which are more expensive than unhealthy foods and many people use this as an excuse for not even trying to manage a healthy diet. However whilst some healthy foods can be more expensive, they are not all and you can get many healthy foods cheaply: frozen and tinned foods are sometimes less expensive for example, or store brands rather than named brands – see under UG3. Moreover a lot of unhealthy, albeit cheap, foods are taken as extra snacks or add-ons to meals, such as puddings, rather than replacements for main meals, and are often contributing to a failure to get weight under control. By looking at what you are typically spending on food and drink, including all the little snacks and extras, and then setting it, or even a slightly reduced number, as a strict weekly budget, you should have no difficulty in identifying a healthy meal plan – see more information under UG5. In practice this excuse is really a sign of not being willing to make the effort to plan for a good diet rather than a genuine reason for not following one.
‘Continually have to watch what you eat takes all the fun out of life.’
If you are a pure hedonist, determined to be forever seeking pleasures no matter what the consequences, then I guess any limitations on your momentary desires is seen in a negative light. I guess dieting is not for you and presumably you have accepted the likelihood of an early death, though probably not thought through too much the likelihood that you are also likely to have some rather unpleasant ill health issues before you do.

If this absolute hedonist isn’t you, then you may still feel that dieting is a bit of a killjoy. However dieting does not have to be an absolute no-no in terms of everything you eat. You can indulge in certain high calorie items from time to time, so long as it is just from time to time. And there are many foods you may find pleasurable which are part of a healthy diet. And limiting certain pleasurable foods rather than taking all the fun out of life can be a part of the fun in life. If you regularly eat certain foods it is likely to just be a habit rather than a particularly pleasurable experience.
'It’s not my fault, its my genes.'
Genes undoubtedly affect your propensity for putting on weight, and your propensity for maintaining a given weight.

Some people have a natural body weight that is much higher than others, and have a fuller body shape than others. That does not make them fat. Having a larger body size and being heavier than someone else is not a sign of being overweight or being less healthy, and the BMI, Body Mass Index, takes account of both height and body shape.

Thus any judgement of whether or not you should look to lose weight should take account of your own personal naturally healthy weight. However having a larger body shape is not an excuse for being any size or weight. There will be a healthy weight which is appropriate to you, look to find out what it is.
‘I eat when I’m stressed. I can’t help it’
There is undoubtedly something in this. Stress does lead to a natural cognitive tendency to seek out high-fat, high-calorie foods. It does not however force us in any absolute sense to eat things we know we shouldn’t. We just need to work a little harder at adopting good eating habits.

If you are highly stressed you should seek to do something about it. It is most likely to be slowly killing you. This app is not about managing your stress, but there is also a Common Sense Way of managing stress which simplistically is about taking responsibility for tackling the external factors that leading to your stress, about getting some exercise and adopting good sleeping and eating habits, and is about changing some of your ways of thinking and shifting towards a more stoical outlook on life.
‘The guidance you hear is conflicting and keeps changing’
With respect to conflicting guidance relating to eating and exercising, there are two aspects. Firstly, it is true, that some of the detailed guidance relating to certain foods or certain exercise regimes may seem to change from time to time, or different experts may say different things. This however is in the detail. It doesn’t need to impact on your overall eating and exercise regime. So long as you adopt some of the basic principles which include moderation and variety, then should you occasionally eat something, or do some particular exercise, which later turns out not to be an optimal part of an eating and exercise regime, this is not going to matter one jot. You can and should make minor adjustments to your eating and exercise regime over time, and take some account of new emerging guidance, but the fact that it is not perfect is of no consequence against the far far more important fact that you are following a good eating and exercise regime.

The second conflict is that certain supposed experts may make claims which go against the mainstream. There are always those who go against the mainstream, and very very occasionally, in particular circumstances, they have been shown in the long term to have been right. In 99.99% of the cases however those that go against well established eating and exercise guidance are just plain wrong. Just as the snake-oil salesman of the past and the climate change deniers of today were and are wrong. For a variety of psychological and sometimes financial reasons they adopt a contrary viewpoint and claim persecution and prejudice from any who would point out the very obvious flaws in their views. Ignore the claims of the small minority going against the mainstream advice, particular advice against the basics of limiting your calorie intake, getting some regular exercise, avoiding extremes unless for a very particular reason such as professional athletes, and generally seeking some variety.
‘I don’t have the time to eat healthily or to exercise’
There are many many ways of eating healthily without spending a lot of time preparing meals. Eating fruit or some raw vegetables takes no time at all. Many healthy foods just need a little bit of heating up. You can prepare a salad with cold meat or fish in minutes. If you are happy to do a bit of cooking you can make a batch of food and divide it into smaller portions which you put in the freezer.

As for exercising, can you not spare 3 or so 30 minute sessions a week? You could do some exercise whilst watching TV. Going for a walk a couple of times a week can be very relaxing and spark creative thoughts: can you really not spare the time for that? There are likely to be many opportunities during the day for doing things in a way that involves a little more exercise than they might have otherwise done.
‘If I diet I just feel hungry all the time’
Many people mistake thirst for hunger, so drink more water during the day, or when you think you are feeling a bit hungry.

Have healthy snacks readily available, fruit or nuts for example, and if you think you really are hungry have that.

Instead of suddenly adopting a strict diet, which may well leave you feeling hungry, just start to cut down and eat a bit less. Eat less unhealthy snacks during the day, and a bit less when eating main meals. Don’t feel obliged to eat everything in front of you.
‘I’m all ready to start, I’ll do so tomorrow’
We see our tomorrow selves as having far more motivation than our today selves. Thus we put off till tomorrow what we don’t feel like doing today. The only time you will get started on a diet or a bit of exercise is today and right now. You’re not really ready to start unless you’re ready to start right now.
‘I’ve tried diets before, they just don’t work for me’
Most diets don’t work for most people in the long term, not unless they are part of and in the context of a general change in your habits. We can all change our unhealthy habits if we persist in trying to do so, and are continually looking for better ways of doing so, which is what this app is all about.