I have heard every excuse in the book. “I have no time,” is the number one excuse I hear when it comes to exercise. Another big excuse is “I’m too tired”.
I found this great article in the Chicago Tribune: Exercise vs. counting calories as weight-loss strategy (September 28, 2009). The title is a bit misleading, because as the article reports, you must have a well-balanced diet and exercise in order to lose weight. It’s not really a one-or-the-other choice.
Can you lose weight cutting calories alone? Sure you can. But you will also lose muscle mass, and this will not help your metabolism at all. We all lose muscle as we age. Muscle is a highly metabolic tissue that keeps our metabolism moving. The more we lose, the more sluggish our metabolism becomes, and this means burning less calories during activity and rest.
When you tell yourself you have no time for exercise, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. What can you do to find time?
- Wake up 30-60 minutes earlier and try morning workouts. Getting exercise over first thing in the morning means you’ve accomplished one very important thing for the day.
- Find a gym near your job and workout during a lunch break.
- Take inventory of how much time you may waste during the day on activities such as surfing the net, watching TV, even doing household chores.
- If your to-do list is too long, cut one thing out to give yourself one hour for a workout.
- Moms: schedule a babysitter so you can workout. Buy a baby jogger and bring your little one on a speed walk or jog with you! Find a gym that offers babysitting – then actually use your membership.
- If you are trying to workout in the early morning, make sure you are getting to bed early enough. Allow for 7-8 hours of sleep. Give yourself a few weeks to adjust to your alarm going off at 4 or 5 AM before giving up.
- For after-work workouts, pack your gym bag and leave it in your car. Go straight to the gym after work. If you are going for a speed walk or jog outside, change into your running clothes as soon as you get home. Do not sit on the couch, check your mail, make a snack… all of these things could easily suck you in to “feeling tired” and talk you out of working out.
- Eat properly. If you are packing in high sugar foods all day long, these will leave you feeling lethargic at the end of the day. Try eating lean protein, high fiber and heart-healthy sources of fats in meals and snacks every 3-4 hours.
On the flip side, do not kid yourself thinking that regular exercise is a license to eat however you please. Yes, routine moderate and strenuous exercise does allow room for fun treats like a pint of beer and a burger. But if your diet is consistently high in sugar and saturated fat, exercise alone will not help with a weight problem.
Bottom line: the more excuses you make, the more you will believe them, the less you will move, and the higher the scale will climb.
Now get going!
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