Making a change in our lives – any kind of change – always requires some effort. The “comfort zone” gets its name for a reason, and many of us tend to be quite loathe to alter our routines, especially if we have grown accustomed to them over a long period of time.
The decision to live a healthy lifestyle – including incorporating a nutritious diet, regular exercise and stress relief activities into our lives – is one type of change we are often reluctant to make. We may know in the back of our minds that taking care of our health is important, but tell ourselves a list of excuses that get in the way.
The following are five of the most common excuses not to begin a healthy routine, and tips on how to overcome them and start making the best decisions for your overall well-being.
I feel fine – if I start to feel sick I’ll consider a change.
Feeling fine is great, don’t get us wrong. However, if you’re feeling fine while eating junk foods or being generally sedentary on a regular basis, you could be setting yourself up for future health problems even though you may not be showing symptoms now.
The sugars and chemical additives found in junk foods and processed foods dump toxins into your body, and over time, they become very difficult for your system to detoxify. The same goes for a sedentary lifestyle. You may not notice for a while, but if you do not exercise, you are doing your entire body a disservice, and it can, in fact is likely, to catch up with you in the future.
If you feel generally healthy, now is the perfect time to focus on embracing healthy habits that will keep you feeling that way, and likely even better. Remind yourself that prevention is always better than treatment; do not wait until you’re sick to live a healthy lifestyle – if you wait too long, you are taking a big risk, as many chronic conditions are very difficult to reverse.
Everyone else is eating it, why can’t I?
This excuse often creeps into our minds when we are at a social gathering, and everyone is gathered around the buffet table enjoying less-than-healthy offerings. Or, it may hit us at home when we are just starting on a nutritious meal plan, and see a friend’s social media post about the delicious, processed meat sandwich or a sugar-laden dessert they just ate.
Famous author and poet Jack Kerouac once wrote, “comparisons are odious.” When we compare ourselves with others, we may lose sight of what it is we wish to accomplish. We may also lose sight of the reasons for doing what we are doing, particularly if it goes against the crowd.
Remind yourself of your health goals, and why you decided to avoid some foods (or other habits) in the first place. A large amount of people in the Western world choose to live unhealthy lifestyles, and just look at our skyrocketing rates of obesity and chronic disease. This is certainly a majority that you do not want to be part of.
I have more important things to do than worry about my health right now.
Amidst all of the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, many of us think that we simply do not have the time to focus on a healthy lifestyle. After all, sticking to the habits we already have takes less time and energy than incorporating new ones, and we are so busy with other things. However, the importance of your health should never be underestimated.
Remind yourself that if your health starts to deteriorate, you will likely struggle to accomplish the other things you need to do that are so important – such as taking care of your family, succeeding at work, etc. If your body breaks down due to unhealthy habits, you will have no choice but to worry about it then, and everything else in your life is likely to suffer.
And consider that eating healthy does not have to be time consuming – you don’t need to make elaborate meals, just whip together something with nutritious organic ingredients instead of junk foods. Cooking in bulk is a great time (and money) saving option. A wealth of five and ten-minute recipes exist online, it takes just a two minute search to locate them.
Similarly, with exercise, even if you think you don’t have time, just a brisk 15-minute walk per day is worlds better than nothing at all. Treat scheduling exercise time as equally important to scheduling a meeting with a client. When it comes to your health, make the time.
Eating organic is too expensive.
This is a very common excuse, as a lot of people have the misconception that going organic will be a huge hit to their wallet. While the sticker prices on some organic items are indeed higher, if you shop local, shop smart and grow your own foods whenever possible, it is very doable to eat organic even on a limited budget. Check out our guide to eating organic without shelling out tons of cash.
Avoiding organic processed foods can also save you money, as these are the items that tend to be the most expensive. Plus, they are not the best choice for your health – a processed food is still a processed food, even if it contains an organic label.
It’s FDA approved, it can’t be that bad.
This excuse mainly pertains to those unpronounceable ingredients on food labels, or the artificial sweeteners used in many beverages, processed dairy products and other foods. While many people trust the FDA in only approving substances which are safe for human consumption, history says otherwise, as many dangerous pharmaceuticals, pesticides and ingredients have been approved only to be recalled years later after serious side effects have surfaced.
The solution is to do your own independent research – do not rely on the FDA to let you know if an ingredient is safe. If you can’t pronounce it, it is safest to stay away from it, and if you want to know exactly why, the Internet is a wonderful resource at your fingertips.
It may seem like a hassle, but wouldn’t you rather know what you are putting into your body? It’s your health, after all.
-The Alternative Daily